David Crockett in Congress: The Rise and Fall of the Poor Man's Friend

Overview


Countering the widespread historical persona of David Crockett as little more than a coonskin-capped, buckskin-clad frontier hero, this remarkable biography chronicles his life in politics, revealing him instead as an inveterate entrepreneur, advocate for the poor, and career politician with a talent for hardball campaigning. Through a careful review of his letters, speeches, and political circulars, this provocative and insightful examination provides a unique, long-ignored perspective on the man behind the ...
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David Crockett in Congress

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Overview


Countering the widespread historical persona of David Crockett as little more than a coonskin-capped, buckskin-clad frontier hero, this remarkable biography chronicles his life in politics, revealing him instead as an inveterate entrepreneur, advocate for the poor, and career politician with a talent for hardball campaigning. Through a careful review of his letters, speeches, and political circulars, this provocative and insightful examination provides a unique, long-ignored perspective on the man behind the legend, and corrects inaccurate portrayals perpetuated by previous works, most notably James A. Shackford's landmark 1956 biography. Following his political rise from justice of the peace and magistrate to two-term representative in the Tennessee State Legislature and three-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, this account details the progress of both the Tennessee Land Bill (1829-1830) and the Indian Removal Bill (1830). This exploration offers an alternative context for one of American history's most important figures and evaluates the political objectives for which he constantly strove.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Davy Crockett's political life has been covered in biographies, but it has never been subject to the close scrutiny it receives here. Boylston (Alamo Studies Forum) and Wiener (The Beatles: The Ultimate Recording Guide) dissect Crockett as a political animal, following him through the Tennessee legislature and into the halls of Congress, where he served three terms between 1827 and 1835. They show him to be a masterly campaigner and astute politician. While emphasizing his land bill, which would have allowed poor squatters in western Tennessee first claim on lands that they improved (the history of which is included in an appendix), the authors also examine his stands on Indian removal (he was against it) and the Second Bank of the United States (he favored it) and delineate his relationships with the Jacksonians and the Whigs. They let Crockett speak for himself by including all of his extant correspondence and circulars and a selection of his speeches, and they provide annotations as necessary. VERDICT This densely written analysis, with primary sources, may overwhelm all but the most ardent Crockett fan but may intrigue those wishing to study Crocket further, including advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and specialists.—Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933979519
  • Publisher: Bright Sky Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Jim Boylston is a member of the Alamo Society and the Alamo Battlefield Association, and has written articles for the Alamo Journal and the Crockett Chronicle. He is also the creator and moderator of the Alamo Studies online forum (www.alamostudies.com), a web-based discussion group devoted to the serious study of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution. Allen J. Wiener is the author of The Beatles: The Ultimate Recording Guide and The Music of the Alamo.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    "The" Book on Crockett

    "David Crockett in Congress", The Rise and Fall of the Poor Man's Friend
    By James R. Boylston and Allen J. Wiener
    Bright Sky Press
    336 pages including index

    As a reviewer for Our History Project I have the opportunity to read a lot of historical based books, and conduct interviews with the authors of those I like. Every couple of month or so, I get my hands on a stellar book that stands out from the crowd and it means just a little more than the rest. "David Crockett in Congress" is one of those books.

    When I first received the book from the publisher, I wondered how many books they had sent me because of the weight of the package. To my surprise it was just the one, I quickly turned the pages and resigned myself to the upcoming long task of starting this book that was filled from cover to cover with text dotted with a few photos. It truly looked like a reference book and it honestly took me a week to muster up the courage to start it. I finally opened it and began reading in earnest.

    I must admit I have always been a Crockett fan and I was truly shocked when my wife told me it was time for bed. Wow, four hours had just flown by. I have now given you my thoughts before and during this review now let's get to the meat of the book.

    A study into the legend, the myth and the man of Davy Crockett was what I was expecting. To learn more about this giant figure of the past.... I did! However, that was only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much here that it would take a novel to recap the highlights. Let me just say you will get a personal look at Crockett and the inner workings of government at a time when we as a nation was really trying to find our way. You will see personal insights of most of the big names in our history such as Jackson, Polk, Clay and Van Buren just to name a small handful of the players here.

    The great thing on a study like this is that you are not relying on the authors' take, tale or opinion to draw a conclusion of the book in question. They are continually helped out by the man himself; in his own words. From the stump we see the humor; from the floor we see the strength, leverage, skill and determination. From the letters you will find the true Crockett, his compassion, his vision, his morals and his beliefs. In essence what you get is the legend that you thought you knew, firmly cemented in history as the real deal and a true felling that you knew Davy personally. This book will go down in all time as the best book on Crockett ever written or complied and I can honestly say that this book will be the reference for many future Crockett researchers for generations to come.

    The only negative I can find in this book is the Title. I thought it strange reading "David" Crockett, because he has always been "Davy" during my life. Remember what I said in the last paragraph, I know him personally now and you can to, I'll introduce you. So, you can call him by his given name if you want to; it is formally correct; but he will always be Davy to me.

    Happy Reading

    Craig Anderson
    Our History Project

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2010

    Davy Crockett, The Man, The Politician, Not the Myth, by Michael S. Harley

    In the 1950s, the theme song for the Walt Disney Davy Crockett trilogy contained a verse that said Davy "killed him a "b'ar" when he was only three." How much did Hollywood influence our view of this legendary American hero? The answer lies in Boylston and Wiener's David Crockett in Congress: The Rise and Fall of the Poor Man's Friend, a book that is a realistic, historical portrayal of the real Davy Crockett, the man, dedicated politician, and not the Hollywood myth.

    As a young boy, I watched the Walt Disney's television miniseries portraying the popular, legendary hero. Like most boys and girls of that age, I learned The Ballad of Davy Crockett, and wanted a coonskin cap and a Davy Crockett lunchbox.

    A year ago, I read an article in the Winter 2007 issue of the Smithsonian Magazine by Historian Mark Hirsch, Ph'D., entitled Davy Crockett's Finest Hour discussing Davy's defense of Native American rights and his vocal opposition to President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act. The Hirsch article, coupled with the recent death of Fess Parker, the actor who portrayed Crockett in the Disney television series, renewed my interest in Crockett. Specifically, I wanted to know more about the man, and in particular, his role in Congress. After reviewing a number of reference books on Crockett, I came across and purchased David Crockett in Congress: The Rise and Fall of the Poor Man's Friend.

    I am not a researcher or historian of David Crockett like a number of individuals who read and commented on Boylston and Wiener's work. Instead, I love reading history and wanted to learn more about the real Crockett. Boylston and Wiener's outstanding treatise on Davy Crockett is mesmerizing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the man, two-term Tennessee state politician and three-term U.S. Congressman, and not the legend, who, reportedly "killed him a b"ar when he was only three," that I grew up with.

    Boylston and Wiener's work sets forth the true historical record of David Crockett, the man and the politician, carefully documenting Crockett's political career. An honorable politician, and a true American folk hero, Crockett helped make our nation what it is today. Uncompromising in his beliefs and always remaining true to his principals, this remarkable and well-researched treatise draws from Crockett's own correspondence, letters, and speeches, etc., to reveal the real Crockett. Boylston and Wiener document Crockett's rise and fall, the man and the politician, his battle to secure a land bill for the common man, to give them title to the land they worked and improved. On another important issue of the day, Crockett strongly opposed President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal policy. Under the policy, Native Americans were forced to leave their ancestral lands and move to reservations in the west. His vocal opposition to Jackson's policy ultimately cost him his seat in Congress.

    Boylston and Wiener's David Crockett in Congress: The Rise and Fall of the Poor Man's Friend is a must buy for every avid Davy Crockett fan or anyone who just wants to find out more about a real American hero. If you want to know the 'true' historical Davy Crockett, this extraordinary book is a must buy for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    THE MOST IMPORTANT CROCKETT BOOK IN 50 YEARS!

    When this book arrived, I was shocked at the size. I'm not sure how I pictured it, but I wasn't expecting a deluxe hardcover the size of a big city phonebook!

    Then I read it, and had still another revelation. You see, folks, this ain't no ordinary history book. It's a landmark in Crockett literature. Bottom line? This is the most important Crockett book to appear in over fifty years. I know, because aside from a handful of juvenile biographies and storybooks, I've read them all.

    Why is it so important? First, it provides a wealth of new scholarship regarding an vital and long overlooked period of Crockett's life. And second, it introduces us to the real David Crockett in a way never before possible - in his own words.

    "Wait!" you say. "Didn't Crockett write an autobiography?" Yes he did, sort of. And it's a fine read. But he had help. It's not pure Crockett, and it's not always as factual as historians would like.

    That autobiography was published in 1834, and for the next 122 years, biographers just rehashed the same information. James Atkins Shackford changed all that in 1956, with David Crockett: The Man and the Legend, opening up acres of new territory in Crockett's life. Most important of these was Crockett's political career. But while Shackford's work on that period was groundbreaking, it left me wanting more. I kept expecting someone to dig into the original sources Shackford only alluded to and give us the whole story.

    That's what James Boylston and Allen Wiener have done, and the result is far more than I'd hoped for. The back half of the book delivers all the poop from those original sources - letters, circulars, newspaper articles, and the congressional record. Much of this stuff is in Crockett's own unvarnished words (complete with lack of punctuation), taking us closer to the real man than we've ever been.

    The first half of the book puts that information in context, taking us step-by-step through Crockett's career in Congress. Boylston and Wiener introduce us to all the major players, both friend and foe, and give us a firm grounding in the issues of the day, allowing us to understand what Crockett was up against, and appreciate what his actions revealed about his character.

    This is not the Davy we saw on the Disney show. This is the real guy, and we get to know him warts and all. The Crockett that emerges is a different kind of hero, the one hinted at in the book's subtitle. Whatever troubles came his way (and they were many), Crockett never lost sight of his ideals, and truly was "the Poor Man's Friend".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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