Frontiersman: Daniel Boone and the Making of America / Edition 1by Meredith Mason Brown
Pub. Date: 02/28/2009
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
The name Daniel Boone conjures up the image of an illiterate, coonskin cap-wearing patriot who settled Kentucky and killed countless Indians. The scarcity of surviving autobiographical material has allowed tellers of his story to fashion a Boone of their own liking, and his myth has evolved in countless stories, biographies, novels, poems, and paintings. In this… See more details below
The name Daniel Boone conjures up the image of an illiterate, coonskin cap-wearing patriot who settled Kentucky and killed countless Indians. The scarcity of surviving autobiographical material has allowed tellers of his story to fashion a Boone of their own liking, and his myth has evolved in countless stories, biographies, novels, poems, and paintings. In this welcome book, Meredith Mason Brown separates the real Daniel Boone from the many fables that surround him, revealing a man far more complex and far more interesting than his legend.
Brown traces Boone's life from his Pennsylvania childhood to his experiences in the militia and his rise as an unexcelled woodsman, explorer, and backcountry leader. In the process, we meet the authentic Boone: he didn't wear coonskin caps; he read and wrote better than many frontiersmen; he was not the first to settle Kentucky; he took no pleasure in killing Indians. At once a loner and a leader, a Quaker who became a skilled frontier fighter, Boone is a study in contradictions. Devoted to his wife and children, he nevertheless embarked on long hunts that could keep him from home for two years or more. A captain in colonial Virginia's militia, Boone later fought against the British and their Indian allies in the Revolutionary War before he moved to Missouri when it was still Spanish territory and became a Spanish civil servant. Boone did indeed kill Indians during the bloody fighting for Kentucky, but he also respected Indians, became the adopted son of a Shawnee chief, and formed lasting friendships with many Shawnees who once held him captive.
During Boone's lifetime (17341820), America evolved from a group of colonies with fewer than a million inhabitants clustered along the Atlantic Coast to an independent nation of close to ten million reaching well beyond the Mississippi River. Frontiersman is the first biography to explore Boone's crucial role in that transformation. Hundreds of thousands of settlers entered Kentucky on the road that Boone and his axemen blazed from the Cumberland Gap to the Kentucky River. Boone's leadership in the defense of Boonesborough during a sustained Indian attack in 1778 was instrumental in preventing white settlers from fleeing Kentucky during the bloody years of the Revolution. And Boone's move to Missouri in 1799 and his exploration up the Missouri River helped encourage a flood of settlers into that region. Through his colorful chronicle of Boone's experiences, Brown paints a rich portrayal of colonial and Revolutionary America, the relations between whites and Indians, the opening and settling of the Old West, and the birth of the American national identity.
Supported with copious maps, illustrations, endnotes, and a detailed chronology of Boone's life, Frontiersman provides a fresh and accurate rendering of a man most people know only as a folk hero and of the nation that has mythologized him for over two centuries.
- Louisiana State University Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Table of Contents
1 Old Boone 1
2 Quakers in Pennsylvania, Settlers in Backcountry North Carolina 3
3 Braddock's Defeat: How Not to Fight Indians 12
4 A Good Wife 21
5 Long Hunts 28
6 Boone's First Hunts in Kentucky 39
7 Boone Begins to Open the Wilderness: The First Attempt to Settle Kentucky 54
8 Transylvania, the Wilderness Road, and the Building of Boonesborough 68
9 Dark and Bloody Ground: An Introduction to Kentucky during the Revolutionary War 91
10 The Capture and Rescue of the Girls 104
11 The Shawnees Capture Boone 115
12 Boone among the Shawnees 130
13 The Siege of Boonesborough 145
14 Indian Raids and the Battle of the Blue Licks 170
15 Whites and Indians 185
16 Trading and Land Speculation: Master of All He Surveyed? 200
17 Living Legend, Shrinking Fortune 216
18 Out to Missouri 226
19 Boone in Missouri 238
20 Last Days 252
21 Life after Death 260
22 Coda 274
Bibliographical Note 343
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I just finished reading Frontiersman, a book about Daniel Boone's life. We are all worried about the economy and what the future will bring. With that on my mind as I read this book I realized that if our early settlers can survive the real hardships that they had to get through to build America, then we can get through our current difficulties.
The book is well written, and describes in graphic detail the difficulty we had in expanding to the frontier. It points out how poorly we treated the Indians, but it also does a great job of painting a picture of the filth that early settlers had to endure to make a life for themselves. There is no way we would survive that life if we were dropped into the world that Daniel Boone lived in. It was sad to learn that he hated Coonskin caps. If someone would have mentioned coonskin cap prior to my reading this book I would have replied Daniel Boone.
One other condition of those times that we still have today was the greed that was rampant. Daniel Boone did so much to open new territories but wound up with nothing to show for it in the long run, except for a reputation second to none.
The author doesn't soft pedal anything. The horific scalpings, horrible living conditions, and the difficult life in Daniel Boone's time is well told and left a lasting impression on me.
I recommend Frontiersman for anyone who enjoys American History.