Hot Best Seller

Boone: A Biography

Availability: Ready to download

The story of Daniel Boone is the story of America—its ideals, its promise, its romance, and its destiny. Bestselling, critically acclaimed author Robert Morgan reveals the complex character of a frontiersman whose heroic life was far stranger and more fascinating than the myths that surround him. This rich, authoritative biography offers a wholly new perspective on a man The story of Daniel Boone is the story of America—its ideals, its promise, its romance, and its destiny. Bestselling, critically acclaimed author Robert Morgan reveals the complex character of a frontiersman whose heroic life was far stranger and more fascinating than the myths that surround him. This rich, authoritative biography offers a wholly new perspective on a man who has been an American icon for more than two hundred years—a hero as important to American history as his more political contemporaries George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Extensive endnotes, cultural and historical background material, and maps and illustrations underscore the scope of this distinguished and immensely entertaining work.


Compare

The story of Daniel Boone is the story of America—its ideals, its promise, its romance, and its destiny. Bestselling, critically acclaimed author Robert Morgan reveals the complex character of a frontiersman whose heroic life was far stranger and more fascinating than the myths that surround him. This rich, authoritative biography offers a wholly new perspective on a man The story of Daniel Boone is the story of America—its ideals, its promise, its romance, and its destiny. Bestselling, critically acclaimed author Robert Morgan reveals the complex character of a frontiersman whose heroic life was far stranger and more fascinating than the myths that surround him. This rich, authoritative biography offers a wholly new perspective on a man who has been an American icon for more than two hundred years—a hero as important to American history as his more political contemporaries George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Extensive endnotes, cultural and historical background material, and maps and illustrations underscore the scope of this distinguished and immensely entertaining work.

30 review for Boone: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    BOONE was a fascinating read, and offered many things I look for in a great biography: insight, understanding of why the subject is worth knowing, human perspective, and historical perspective, all in a narrative that flows like a good story. Robert Morgan, more known for his fiction, has accomplished much of this, though I dropped the fifth star because it needed some additional editing to remove a fair amount of unnecessary repetition and to improve the flow in a few places where the narrative BOONE was a fascinating read, and offered many things I look for in a great biography: insight, understanding of why the subject is worth knowing, human perspective, and historical perspective, all in a narrative that flows like a good story. Robert Morgan, more known for his fiction, has accomplished much of this, though I dropped the fifth star because it needed some additional editing to remove a fair amount of unnecessary repetition and to improve the flow in a few places where the narrative bogs down. For the most part, however, this book was both edifying and entertaining. The first words of the book are "Forget the coonskin cap; he never wore one." This sets the tone for one of the themes of the book -- that the myth of Daniel Boone was a phenomenon in itself and was often at odds with the real man, or was at least a larger-than-life image that served the purposes of those who helped create it. The author leaves no doubt, however, that Boone was a complex man of remarkable skill, industry, and courage. Irony plays a starring role in the life of Daniel Boone. For someone whose fame and reputation were widespread -- during his lifetime and beyond -- Boone was a terrible businessman who was constantly, throughout his life, in trouble because of profligate spending and inattention to record-keeping and the details of proper legal transactions. His many prolonged adventures and exploratory expeditions made him an often absent husband to Rebeccah and their 10 children, though they moved many times to join him. Yet again and again he was celebrated, written about, elected to public office, and chosen for jobs over others without these weaknesses. The greatest irony of Boone's life is that his hunger for adventure and wilderness, for discovering uncharted territory, for living at one with Nature like the Indians, and the resulting trails that he blazed, actually paved the way for the rush of settlers westward that destroyed so much of what he loved. He lived long enough to appreciate and regret this irony. Boone's relationship with the native Americans was particularly interesting in light of the conflicting stories about him and the suspicion by some whites that he was more sympathetic to the Indian cause than to theirs. He was greatly admired by many Indians for being such a skilled woodsman and hunter. When he was captured by the Shawnees for several months, he was adopted by the kidnappers, and there is good evidence that the bonds he formed with many members of that tribe endured to the very end of his life. Yet his reputation as an Indian fighter was made through his fearless and ferocious defense of various forts and settlements against Indian attacks; he had furs and horses stolen by the Indians time and again; and many among his family and friends were killed by Indians, including his sons James and Israel, and his brother Ned. The dangers and hardships of frontier life were masterfully and vividly portrayed in this book. Perhaps the most compelling part of the book was the strong case made by the author for the impact that Boone and his legend had on thinkers, writers and artists in the decades after his death. He quotes historian Richard Slotkin, "[I]t was the figure of Daniel Boone, the solitary, Indian-like hunter of the deep woods, that became the most significant, most emotionally compelling myth-hero of the early republic. The other myth-figures are reflections or variations of this basic type." We find Boone's incarnations in the heroes of James Fennimore Cooper (e.g. Leatherstocking, Hawkeye and Natty Bumppo). The works of Thomas Cole, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Lord Byron, and Walt Whitman all reflect strong inspiration of Daniel Boone and the life he loved. "[By the 1850s], the image and legend of Boone had pervaded the American consciousness...Boone had become a figure of America's ideal self, a touchstone of poetry and history and national identity."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Literary Chic

    Boone is a fantastic biography of an interesting early American. It is thorough and great at veering the reader away from the mythical "coonskin cap wearing baaar killer." However, sometimes it's cumbersome in details. While interesting, this biography takes a patient reader in my opinion. I'm a Kentucky girl and loved all the great details about my state. Mr. Morgan uses familiar landmarks and accurate depictions of the Bluegrass State. Having had school field trips and long weekend visits to ma Boone is a fantastic biography of an interesting early American. It is thorough and great at veering the reader away from the mythical "coonskin cap wearing baaar killer." However, sometimes it's cumbersome in details. While interesting, this biography takes a patient reader in my opinion. I'm a Kentucky girl and loved all the great details about my state. Mr. Morgan uses familiar landmarks and accurate depictions of the Bluegrass State. Having had school field trips and long weekend visits to many of the locations described, it was nice to hear more of the history of Kentucky's infancy. Even though it took me longer than normal to complete, Boone was well worth the time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steven Peterson

    What strikes me as the greatest accomplishment of Robert Morgan in this biography of Daniel Boone is stripping away the myth and describing the person. Boone himself was a complex figure. He was a great success as a trapper and explorer. He routinely failed as a businessman and land speculator. He was lucky and he made his own luck. Despite being so well known to Americans, he died in Missouri at 86 and was pretty much broke. His story was such that he was mentioned in the works of poets and wri What strikes me as the greatest accomplishment of Robert Morgan in this biography of Daniel Boone is stripping away the myth and describing the person. Boone himself was a complex figure. He was a great success as a trapper and explorer. He routinely failed as a businessman and land speculator. He was lucky and he made his own luck. Despite being so well known to Americans, he died in Missouri at 86 and was pretty much broke. His story was such that he was mentioned in the works of poets and writers. James Fennimore Cooper based a number of novels on his life and exploits, Natty Bumppo, "la longue carabine," the Pathfinder, Hawkeye, and so on. The book does a nice job of relating his family background, his childhood, and his increasing interest in trapping, hunting, and exploring. He fought in the French and Indian War (serving with Braddock on this ill-starred campaign) and the Revolutionary War. He was instrumental in helping the process of development of American interests in Kentucky. His relationship with Native Americans was complex. His business efforts, designed to provide security for his family, routinely ended in failure. Land that he thought had been given him in Kentucky was lost through court action; he once lost $20,000 as he was going back to Virginia to deposit this and finalize land claims; and so on. And, a stunning realization. . . . He went with a group of explorers and visited the Yellowstone area while he was in his mid 70s! How many 70 year olds would be able to cross half a continent in 1809 and return? This book is a wonderfully balanced view of the life of Boone. For those who want to know the man more than the myth, this is most rewarding. Some nice features: a genealogy at the outset, a brief chronology of Boone's life. More maps would have been useful, to place his travels and life in a broader geographic perspective. Nonetheless, a fine work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Campbell

    American poet, short story writer, novelist, and Professor of English at Cornell University Robert Morgan's deeply humane biography of 18th century American frontiersman (and reluctant legend) Daniel Boone. As Colonial America moved towards it's inevitable rupture with the British Empire in 1776, Boone is found drifting in the opposite direction from Western Pennsylvania down the Great Appalachian Valley to the Carolina's and then west (alone) as the first Kentuckian of European descent, later b American poet, short story writer, novelist, and Professor of English at Cornell University Robert Morgan's deeply humane biography of 18th century American frontiersman (and reluctant legend) Daniel Boone. As Colonial America moved towards it's inevitable rupture with the British Empire in 1776, Boone is found drifting in the opposite direction from Western Pennsylvania down the Great Appalachian Valley to the Carolina's and then west (alone) as the first Kentuckian of European descent, later becoming (again reluctantly) a hero of the western theater of the Revolutionary War's most violent battles (Boonesborough, Piqua, Blue Licks). Boone's legend, per Dr. Morgan, was created years after the Revolution not so much as a memorial to the man, but as a memorial to the Central Kentucky region whose rapid settlement (that Boone initiated) transformed it from a wilderness Eden of forest and canebrake to the civilized, domestic livestock pastures that it is today in less than 15 years, and a refined, fashioned society that pushed Boone and his rough frontier protégés to it's margins in equal time. Boone's acts (the hunts, the escapes, the rescues, the distances, the Indian friends) all later assumed apocryphal really did happen, but the Boone "act" (the coonskin, the illiteracy, etc.) was pure fiction that Boone never claimed, but also didn't stay around long enough to dispute. Ultimately, Boone became a repository for the full spectrum of perceived Revolutionary Era manliness and virtue in the immediate Post-Revolutionary period, but the truth is the real, often-ignored Boone's was even more American still: he was a quiet, unpretentious man that simply wanted to find a quiet, unpretentious place to settle in his own mind, and was willing to cross any mountain range to find his freedom.

  5. 4 out of 5

    bup

    I'm not sure what I was expecting from a biography of Daniel Boone, but I never got too close. The author argued, perhaps correctly, that Boone is a sort of Rorschach of the American psyche, and will always be mysterious, but it also feels like he didn't even really try. Honestly, too, I had a hard time not being overly distracted by the narrator. His mouth and the English language are apparently on the outs, and fought a lot during the reading. He attacked sounds and they fought back. Further, h I'm not sure what I was expecting from a biography of Daniel Boone, but I never got too close. The author argued, perhaps correctly, that Boone is a sort of Rorschach of the American psyche, and will always be mysterious, but it also feels like he didn't even really try. Honestly, too, I had a hard time not being overly distracted by the narrator. His mouth and the English language are apparently on the outs, and fought a lot during the reading. He attacked sounds and they fought back. Further, he inflected some clauses the wrong way, emphasizing the wrong word or words. Except for some basic facts about Boone's life (born near Philadelphia a Quaker, in debt a lot of his life, imprisoned by Shawnees for a couple of years, fought in a 1782 battle of the American Revolution), I don't have any better sense of the man than I did before I read it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This excellent biography takes us back to when much of the current United States was wilderness and the Native Americans were its dominant possessors. The bigger than life legends of Daniel Boone are picked apart, as the author seeks to distinguish between fact and fiction, but while showing the humanness of Boone, he never disparages or lessens his achievements. If anything, deciphering the real from the story only made the life of Boone more engaging. I appreciated the author's attempt to vali This excellent biography takes us back to when much of the current United States was wilderness and the Native Americans were its dominant possessors. The bigger than life legends of Daniel Boone are picked apart, as the author seeks to distinguish between fact and fiction, but while showing the humanness of Boone, he never disparages or lessens his achievements. If anything, deciphering the real from the story only made the life of Boone more engaging. I appreciated the author's attempt to validate the contributions of Boone's wife and the other women in his life, as well as the several black men and slaves who were instrumental in the expansion of the west. Though there is little recorded about them, sometimes not even a name, they are recognized and credit is given where it is due. The description of Daniel Boone's Kentucky was captivating; although vastly different to what it was in his day, I should like to see whatever remaining wilderness there is to be seen there today.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dan Carey

    OMG, how Morgan does go on. This 20-hour audio book could easily have been 15 hours if an editor had managed to restrain Morgan's verbosity. Points raised over and over again, sometimes in anticipation of their place in the timeline, then at their occurrence, are then pointed back to at some later point in the narrative. I particularly had to laugh when Morgan accused some 19th-century biographers of Boone of indulging in purple prose, only to turn to it himself in the very same chapter. Morgan OMG, how Morgan does go on. This 20-hour audio book could easily have been 15 hours if an editor had managed to restrain Morgan's verbosity. Points raised over and over again, sometimes in anticipation of their place in the timeline, then at their occurrence, are then pointed back to at some later point in the narrative. I particularly had to laugh when Morgan accused some 19th-century biographers of Boone of indulging in purple prose, only to turn to it himself in the very same chapter. Morgan also seems oddly comfortable saying that whether or not some particular story about Boone really occurred does not matter; that it nonetheless reveals such-and-such about Boone's character. I simply cannot recommend this book, but neither can I point you to some alternative. Wikipedia, perhaps? [Audiobook note: Especially at first, narrator James Jenner seemed to me to take much-too-long pauses between sentences and paragraphs. Later, he either sped up or I had become accustomed to his rhythm.]

  8. 4 out of 5

    John

    This wasn't bad, though it could have been a hundred pages shorter. I wanted to read it because Boone's lifespan matches up pretty closely to the era that I am studying, but he was in Kentucky and Missouri, rather than Maine/Canada. So my people went one way and he went the other. It got me thinking about options in early America - where did people see opportunity? Why move to Kentucky, where you might very well get killed by Indians, when you could move to Canada, where you were much less likel This wasn't bad, though it could have been a hundred pages shorter. I wanted to read it because Boone's lifespan matches up pretty closely to the era that I am studying, but he was in Kentucky and Missouri, rather than Maine/Canada. So my people went one way and he went the other. It got me thinking about options in early America - where did people see opportunity? Why move to Kentucky, where you might very well get killed by Indians, when you could move to Canada, where you were much less likely to get killed by Indians? Was it just proximity? I was also interested in all the times Boone flirted with the British (he WAS kind of flirting with moving to Canada). Morgan is determined to argue that Boone was leading the British along, never really interested in switching sides, etc, but then he notes that some of Boone's in-laws were loyalists. And Boone seems to have had no trouble moving to Spanish territory in Missouri - in fact, it sounds like he was delighted to leave US territory behind, and kind of disappointed when the states caught up to him. I think this could have been a nice chance to consider loyalty or lack thereof in this era. Boone became this American prototype, except really he was this man without a clear national identity. I also have to say, books like this drive me a little crazy when they draw from early to mid-19th century biographies and treat them like they are just normal sources. To his credit, Morgan mentions occasionally that one story or another is probably an exaggeration, but there were a lot of really fishy stories that he simply repeated. And he didn't have to - for example, Boone was taken by the Shawnee at one point and "adopted," and lived with them for months. This was a golden opportunity to get into what scholars know today about how these "adoptions" actually worked, but Morgan basically just uses one of these antique biographies as his source and calls it good. He also could have spent a little more time on the fact that Boone and his whole family were slaveholders. He spent a little time there, but it seemed like he would give it a couple of sentences and then happily move on. He spent more time on spurious "one time Boone hid from Indians in a cave for a week, then shot two Indians with one bullet" stories than he did on slavery. Seems inappropriate.

  9. 5 out of 5

    J.R.

    Separating fact from fiction in writing a biography of an iconic figure like Boone is a major challenge and Morgan is to be commended for this effort. It’s unfortunate the several efforts Boone made to leave a personal account of his life were lost due to accidents and misadventures and later biographers were forced to rely on written records that may have been biased or based on hearsay. Morgan’s research clears up many of the false assertions about Boone and gives us a closer look at the real m Separating fact from fiction in writing a biography of an iconic figure like Boone is a major challenge and Morgan is to be commended for this effort. It’s unfortunate the several efforts Boone made to leave a personal account of his life were lost due to accidents and misadventures and later biographers were forced to rely on written records that may have been biased or based on hearsay. Morgan’s research clears up many of the false assertions about Boone and gives us a closer look at the real man. His is not a blatant example of hero worship—he gives us the good and the bad about the man. There is the honest, considerate and loving family man; the lover of the wild who would inspire Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman; the soldier, who never unnecessarily took a life. There’s the careless businessman, mired in debt and failing over and over again. There’s also the irony of the hunter who shot game with no thought for tomorrow and the lover of wilderness who led others who would destroy the solitude and beauty he cherished. Boone obviously admired the Indian and their way of life, to the extent he was accused of treason and was able to overlook the murder of family and friends and the captivity of his favorite daughter and himself. Yet he was as culpable as others in the destruction of their society. Morgan gives the impression the Quaker Boones and their neighbors had no problems with the Native Americans while living in Pennsylvania. Though the Quakers and Moravians did enjoy peaceful relations with the native peoples for long periods of time, tensions were increasing before the Boones left Oley Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. Land sales the Penns and their representatives negotiated with the Iroquois as early as the 1730s riled the Lenape/Delaware who claimed the same territory and influenced them to side with the French later in the strife known as the French and Indian War. Thanks to Conrad Weiser, a diplomat and interpreter, a peace was brokered in 1737 between the Iroquois and southern tribes, averting violence certain to have spilled over into Pennsylvania and Virginia. Morgan refers to Logan who, seeking revenge for the murder of his family, helped spark the 1774 Dunmore’s War, as a Mingo. In fact, Logan (Tachnechdorus) was a son of Shikellamy, the Iroquois vice regent at Shamokin PA. Mingo is a corruption of the Lenape term “minqua,” which can be interpreted as “treacherous.” Aside from these minor quibbles, I’d say Morgan has done a wonderful job in presenting a Boone who truly deserves the fame society has granted him.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dan Ryan

    This was a clearly written book about a fascinating man - if a good editor had interceded, this could have been a great book. He starts out painfully slowly with a boring genealogy of Boone, and that serves as a good example of what an editor could have removed to help the book move along. Beyond that, though, the author indulges himself in cringe-worthy generalizations about mankind, such as the theory that a man emerges as himself when his father dies (?) and then a laughable diversion arguing This was a clearly written book about a fascinating man - if a good editor had interceded, this could have been a great book. He starts out painfully slowly with a boring genealogy of Boone, and that serves as a good example of what an editor could have removed to help the book move along. Beyond that, though, the author indulges himself in cringe-worthy generalizations about mankind, such as the theory that a man emerges as himself when his father dies (?) and then a laughable diversion arguing that geniuses have a 10 year period of achievement, and Daniel Boone had such a period of achievement, but his was 12 years. One senses that the author bored himself with a chronological treatment of Boone's life, so he rewarded himself with foolish attempts to make broad statements of human nature. Fortunately, the history of Daniel Boone is a vivid one, and it overcomes the author's failure to find a good editor for his manuscript.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Liked the book. Thanks to the tv show I thought Dan'l Boone wore a coonskin cap and wandered around exploring the frontier and saving settler's lives. This book gave me a much better and more detailed account of Daniel Boone and his life; I realized that there is a man behind the legend who struggled with much of the same things people do today. I found it kind of sad actually; that a man who so loved the wilderness of Kentucky but lived through the disappearance of wildlife as well as the land Liked the book. Thanks to the tv show I thought Dan'l Boone wore a coonskin cap and wandered around exploring the frontier and saving settler's lives. This book gave me a much better and more detailed account of Daniel Boone and his life; I realized that there is a man behind the legend who struggled with much of the same things people do today. I found it kind of sad actually; that a man who so loved the wilderness of Kentucky but lived through the disappearance of wildlife as well as the land being divied up by holding companies and settlers. He didn't get to keep a piece of it himself - always moving onto somewhere with less financial headaches, less settlers and more wildlife. Living in Kentucky, this book gives me an appreciation of the area where I live, but I wonder how much of this country Daniel Boone would recognize today.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Mendez

    Having grown up on the Disney t.v. show, Daniel Boone, I appreciated being disabused of the fantasy ideas I had absorbed as a child about this man. This book was so interesting not only about Daniel's life but also about the wilderness of Can tuck ee (Kentucky) and the Shawnee Indians. It seems like you can almost reach out and touch the time and place at one moment. And in the next moment you can't help feeling sad that this world is gone. The wilderness, the wild animals, the native American c Having grown up on the Disney t.v. show, Daniel Boone, I appreciated being disabused of the fantasy ideas I had absorbed as a child about this man. This book was so interesting not only about Daniel's life but also about the wilderness of Can tuck ee (Kentucky) and the Shawnee Indians. It seems like you can almost reach out and touch the time and place at one moment. And in the next moment you can't help feeling sad that this world is gone. The wilderness, the wild animals, the native American cultures, the pioneer culture were so unique and yet changed so quickly in the 18th century. This biography is well-written and brings Daniel Boone to life. Not in the fictious, larger-than-life legend way, but with all his human qualities and God-given talents, strengths and even weaknesses.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ranette

    Hello Parrish relatives!! Did you know our GGG grandpa, Edward Parrish knew Daniel Boone? This is recorded in a county history from that time. I just loved this book, especially the 2nd half, starting with Ch. 9 were Boone chased down some Indians who stole his daughter, Jemimah. He loved to hunt, roam and move west. He tried to make peace with every one, and be honest. Lots to understand about the times, Indians, and settlers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    The subject matter was good, and facts (when available) were dutifully related, but I didn't care for the style of writing. It read more like a really long essay about Daniel Boone instead of a biography. There was way too much conjecture, too much repetition, too much referencing of Thoreau and Dickinson and Whitman and Twain. And there were certainly not enough maps. The narrative is also periodically interrupted by a textbook-style explanation box about some other topic. The subject matter was good, and facts (when available) were dutifully related, but I didn't care for the style of writing. It read more like a really long essay about Daniel Boone instead of a biography. There was way too much conjecture, too much repetition, too much referencing of Thoreau and Dickinson and Whitman and Twain. And there were certainly not enough maps. The narrative is also periodically interrupted by a textbook-style explanation box about some other topic.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    I could not get through this book. I was frustrated by the lack of information on who Boone truly was. The author kept including myths to explain his character, but then adding that it is unsubstantiated, so we cannot be sure about it... Very frustrating. Also, it was just not captivating in any way. Historically, it is interesting though.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jake Roese

    A Boone fanboy trying to glorify the myth. There is not much historically important to this stupid biography.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brenden Gallagher

    "Many believe Boone in his final years saw clearly the contradictions of his life, how his 'love of nature' had led not to a future of peaceful hunting with Indians but to the destruction of the hunting grounds the Indians had preserved so long." "The story of Boone is the story of America. From the Blue Ridge to the Bluegrass, from Yadkin to the Yellowstone, no man sought and loved the wilderness with more passion and dedication. Yet none did more to lead settlers and developers to destroy that "Many believe Boone in his final years saw clearly the contradictions of his life, how his 'love of nature' had led not to a future of peaceful hunting with Indians but to the destruction of the hunting grounds the Indians had preserved so long." "The story of Boone is the story of America. From the Blue Ridge to the Bluegrass, from Yadkin to the Yellowstone, no man sought and loved the wilderness with more passion and dedication. Yet none did more to lead settlers and developers to destroy that wilderness in a few short decades." These two passages contain the major theme and major tensions of Robert Morgan's masterful biography of the frontiersman Daniel Boone. Morgan clearly has a deep respect for the transcendentalist writers of the mid-1800s and the European romantics of the same era. He has sought here to write a Romantic or Transcendentalist biography. In Morgan's view, Boone's life can be read as a work of art that greatly influences and shapes reflections on nature and the frontier experience that would come later. My favorite section of the book was a roughly 100 page section in which Morgan describes Boone's years as a trapper and explorer in the wilderness. Untethered from major battles or tragic personal events in Boone's life (those would come), Morgan tries to capture Boone's love of the vast untamed wilderness. He is free to spend pages describing a particular trapping technique or a certain pocket of the vast undiscovered country. The most compelling point that Morgan makes about Boone is that he represents an alternative American history that the sins of the settlers made impossible. While Boone fought the Native Americans, and they fought him, there was a mutual respect, and even playfulness about their early encounters. It was almost as if Boone was challenged to prove himself to local tribes and because he did, he was allowed to live among them. As America pushed west, it became clear that the United States would spell the end for the Native American way of life, and that the way of the settler was not a way of compromise. Boone too would be steamrolled by progress. He spent the first half of his life in the woods and the second half in debt. Because he stood for an approach to the wilderness that desired something short of capitalist clear cutting, he too would have to go. Of course, Morgan puts its better than I can. He writes: "Over that period that great meadow would cease to be a land of buffalo and hunters and become a land of layers, politicians, accountants, slave holders and hemp planters. However much he might come to hate the change, Boone was as much to blame as any other single human being." This idea: that Daniel Boone was at once the greatest lover and greatest destroyer of the frontier is as beautiful and tragic an idea as you could find in any fiction. And of course, this contradiction is one still playing out in America today.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wayland Smith

    I've always been interested in the Colonial/Revolutionary periods of American History, and one of the bigger names from that era is Daniel Boone. I've read a bit about him in the past, done school papers on him, and even found out that I have an indirect link from my family to his. I'm almost always willing to learn more, so I read this one. Boone went from a child of Quaker immigrants from England to a legend in America, and his story is interesting and heartbreaking. He rose to fame, but fortu I've always been interested in the Colonial/Revolutionary periods of American History, and one of the bigger names from that era is Daniel Boone. I've read a bit about him in the past, done school papers on him, and even found out that I have an indirect link from my family to his. I'm almost always willing to learn more, so I read this one. Boone went from a child of Quaker immigrants from England to a legend in America, and his story is interesting and heartbreaking. He rose to fame, but fortune eluded him. He surveyed land in Kentucky and Missouri, and, when he died, "owned not so much land as would make his grave." The man, from all accounts, was at his best in the woods. Exploring, hunting, seeing things no other white man had seen were things he loved almost as much as he loved his wife Rebecca. Rebecca gets a good bit of mention in this book, and that's a rarity. I'm glad to see it. While Boone's was amazing within in his skill set, he did a lot less well in "civilization." He was cheated, swindled, sued, and didn't himself by being an indifferent record keeper. He lost many fortunes through theft and deceit, but kept on going, seemingly sure his break would come. It never really did. He established forts, saved captives from Indians (and seemed more at home with the Indians than with most whites), blazed trails, and led men in battle. In return, he was accused of treason, fraud, and lost everything he had more than once. He's an interesting figure, and the writer remarks a few times that Boone loved the wilderness, the balance with the Indians and the animals, and did so much to end that period of history, seemingly never realizing he was helping destroy what he loved. Boone was a very contradictory man, and even the stories about him contradict each other many times. A legend of the West (when the West was Kentucky and Missouri), he's well worth learning about if that era appeals at all. My only complaint about the book is the author repeats himself at times. I don't know how many times we needed to be told that forts couldn't really be captured without artillery, for example, but it comes up a lot.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Morgan goes back and forth in this book. He is at his best when he gets caught up in the amazing story of Daniel Boone. He portrays Boone with flair and captures the fascination and passion of a great explorer, pioneer and icon. At times, however, he gets distracted by details provided by other biographers, Morgan's own pet fascinations (often information that should have been consigned to footnotes) or the impact of Boone's story on later literature including Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Byron an Morgan goes back and forth in this book. He is at his best when he gets caught up in the amazing story of Daniel Boone. He portrays Boone with flair and captures the fascination and passion of a great explorer, pioneer and icon. At times, however, he gets distracted by details provided by other biographers, Morgan's own pet fascinations (often information that should have been consigned to footnotes) or the impact of Boone's story on later literature including Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Byron and others. And at times his language becomes an obstacle rather than a vehicle for the biography. He vacillates between tedious amounts of detail and beautiful turns of phrase. Still, for students of Boone's life who know a bit about the details of American history, the book is worthwhile and even at times beautiful. As an author, Morgan is at his best when blending the romanticism of Boone's love affair with the wilderness and the historical details of his story. "Boone was a leader ... and he was an expert marksman, scout trapper, navigator of the forest. He was a woodsman, but there was more, and he knew he was seeking more. In the name of his people ... and his own nature, he was spying on the western wilderness, as if there was a secret he must obtain. It was beyond the next ridge, and it was farther down the river of his days, the intelligence he must gather. Two years may be the time it takes to leave behind one's old self and see the world in a larger, clearer way ... It was about his contemplation of the clouds over the grasslands and the wooded ridge, and the sunset over the hurrying river. It was about how time would seem to stop even as the stars came out. He must play his part in the great curve of time. It was about the lay of the new land just waiting for him to see and walk over it."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andy Klein

    A hard book to review. My overarching feeling is one of boredom. The book never grabbed me. It felt like a chore to slog through. On the other hand, I knew nothing of this interesting man before reading the book. His portrayals in TV and film do not capture the man. He was a unique man even in his own time. He was the quintessential wanderer and explorer. His wandering and hunting expeditions were prodigious and hard to imagine. Alone in the wilderness for years at a time, hunting and skinning, A hard book to review. My overarching feeling is one of boredom. The book never grabbed me. It felt like a chore to slog through. On the other hand, I knew nothing of this interesting man before reading the book. His portrayals in TV and film do not capture the man. He was a unique man even in his own time. He was the quintessential wanderer and explorer. His wandering and hunting expeditions were prodigious and hard to imagine. Alone in the wilderness for years at a time, hunting and skinning, exploring and surveying, avoiding, living with, and fighting native of Americans of many tribes. His is a story of tragedy and failure and disappointment. Every business venture failed either because he paid zero attention to the details or because his skins were repeatedly stolen by Native Americans. Every time he acquired property it was eventually lost to creditors or just lost because he never bothered to properly document his deeds. He had a large number of his family killed by the Shawnee but after bring kidnapped by them lived in peace with them for a time, even being adopted by the tribe’s chief. He was wrongly accused of sedition and cowardice by men jealous of his fame. He seemed to love his wife and kids but he abandoned them for years at at time for hunting and exploring, leaving his wife to do the backbreaking work of running a homestead in the 18th century with a dozen children to tend to in a single small cabin. He loved unspoiled nature but did more to destroy im than any other man of his era, either through the incredible volume of his kills of bear, deer, beaver, cougar, otter, and mink, or by paving the way to agriculture. In many ways, he was the quintessential restless American always looking for that next score that’s just over the horizon. If only I get that far, I’m sure to finally succeed. He never did. But he certainly succeeded in being remembered.

  21. 4 out of 5

    skip thurnauer

    Everybody knows who Daniel Boone is from the 60s TV show and the movies. Boone had a particular fascination for me because one of my distant relatives had an adventure with him back in the early days of the country. But who was Daniel Boone? This biography provides insight into the life of the explorer and woodsman who helped settle the areas now known as Kentucky, W. Virginia, and Arkansas. From an early age Boone knew how to hunt, trap, and live off the land. His explorations into the wilds of Everybody knows who Daniel Boone is from the 60s TV show and the movies. Boone had a particular fascination for me because one of my distant relatives had an adventure with him back in the early days of the country. But who was Daniel Boone? This biography provides insight into the life of the explorer and woodsman who helped settle the areas now known as Kentucky, W. Virginia, and Arkansas. From an early age Boone knew how to hunt, trap, and live off the land. His explorations into the wilds of Kentucky made him prized as a guide as others sought access to the fertile blue grass lands in the west. While on more than one occasion Boone fought against the Indians of the Ohio Valley, they also appreciated him for his knowledge of nature and his hunting and survival abilities. The rescue of his daughter by an Indian war party is one of Boones best-known adventures. At one time he was even adopted by a Shawnee family. While he was a distinguished pioneer, Boone was less successful as a businessman and ended his life living under the patronage of one of his sons in Missouri. Boone's bio provides insights into the early settlements in what was considered then to be the wild wild west.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tom Brennan

    I'm glad I picked it up. I'm glad I read it. But I would be lying if I said there weren't whole sections where I questioned why I was finishing it. At times, it became a real slog. Morgan's failures here include repetetively covering the same ground numerous times from different angles, and entirely too much commentary on Boone's life rather than recital of it. Setting those to one side, though, it is still a good book and no mean accomplishment. As an American with a bent to history, I have enc I'm glad I picked it up. I'm glad I read it. But I would be lying if I said there weren't whole sections where I questioned why I was finishing it. At times, it became a real slog. Morgan's failures here include repetetively covering the same ground numerous times from different angles, and entirely too much commentary on Boone's life rather than recital of it. Setting those to one side, though, it is still a good book and no mean accomplishment. As an American with a bent to history, I have encountered Daniel Boone often. What I have never done is stopped to examine the man's life in detail. An accidental hero and celebrity, a man of integrity, a man falsely accused in his own day and falsely exaggerated after his death, a woodsman, a failure at business, an inveterate wanderer, his life story is rather fascinating. From the Yadkin to the Yellowstone, from Indian wars and captivity to being a land baron, from rescuing damsels in distress to epic financial losses, Boone had it all and did it all. But he most loved the woods. I'm not a hunter, but I feel him there most keenly. Interesting book because Boone is an interesting story. If about a third of it was edited it, it would be a great book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    Morgan paints a picture of Boone, which, I believe, is as accurate as can be achieved of someone who is such an enigma. Boone is definitely a legend for good reason, but a roaming contradiction. How could such an honest, caring man be so loose and seemingly unconcerned about paying back his creditors? Was he selfish with his time when he left his family for months, even years, when he could have earned a living near home? I get the fact that he often had bad luck, but there were times when he co Morgan paints a picture of Boone, which, I believe, is as accurate as can be achieved of someone who is such an enigma. Boone is definitely a legend for good reason, but a roaming contradiction. How could such an honest, caring man be so loose and seemingly unconcerned about paying back his creditors? Was he selfish with his time when he left his family for months, even years, when he could have earned a living near home? I get the fact that he often had bad luck, but there were times when he could have taken more responsibility to secure land that was rightfully his but still walked away. Did he enjoy being taken captive by Indians a little too much? Did his accusers have a point when they thought he was a bit too compliant in being captured in the first place? How could he lead the charge in settling Kentucky when it destroyed the way of life he loved and the respect he had for the Indians? All fair questions. I learned more from this book about native american history than any book I've read to date. This was a fascinating read and well worth the time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jason Walley

    Really enjoyed this book. I thought it was well researched and included the writers that were influenced by Boone's story. This is one of those historical characters that you "think" you know. And, there was soooo much that I didn't know. For example, he was poor most of his life. With all his notoriety he was a terrible business person and a little naive/too trusting. The thing I really liked, was that the story of Boone is really the story of my ancestors that moved west across the country. He Really enjoyed this book. I thought it was well researched and included the writers that were influenced by Boone's story. This is one of those historical characters that you "think" you know. And, there was soooo much that I didn't know. For example, he was poor most of his life. With all his notoriety he was a terrible business person and a little naive/too trusting. The thing I really liked, was that the story of Boone is really the story of my ancestors that moved west across the country. He loved the wildness of the west and yet was very much responsible for leading new settlers into the west and therefore the catalyst of its demise. Anyone that wants to know how the USA ended up going from Sea to Shining Sea needs to read this book and get to know Daniel Boone as the one that set the prototypical American archetype.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Doug Adamson

    Morgan (better known for his fiction) writes very well and takes a thoughtful and balanced approach to this well-researched life of an American frontier legend. Morgan consistently stresses the human reality of Boone who had many virtues which had both positive and negative consequences for his life, his family, and the world around him. He notes where reports of Boone's motives, words, and actions (by himself and by others) seem to conflict with what else we know. Morgan seems to take a sympath Morgan (better known for his fiction) writes very well and takes a thoughtful and balanced approach to this well-researched life of an American frontier legend. Morgan consistently stresses the human reality of Boone who had many virtues which had both positive and negative consequences for his life, his family, and the world around him. He notes where reports of Boone's motives, words, and actions (by himself and by others) seem to conflict with what else we know. Morgan seems to take a sympathetic but critical approach to Boone and the other characters in the book. Often he settles for describing the characters and their actions without explicitly giving his view or evaluation of the characters and their actions. An enjoyable read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Justin Bryant

    Morgan did a fantastic job separating the man from the legend. Boone's faults and failures were as much on display throughout the book as were his triumphs that were many. I have a better understanding of the man and how he could inspire Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman, in turn filling generations of Americans with a romanticized view of ourselves. Morgan's work reads like it was written by a poet who was able to pull off a very good biography. Morgan did a fantastic job separating the man from the legend. Boone's faults and failures were as much on display throughout the book as were his triumphs that were many. I have a better understanding of the man and how he could inspire Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman, in turn filling generations of Americans with a romanticized view of ourselves. Morgan's work reads like it was written by a poet who was able to pull off a very good biography.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    To be honest, this was a bit tedious and long. But if you want to take a peak through the looking glass and see what the land you're standing on looked like in the early 1700's it's interesting. Since I live one of the places where Boone settled when it was still wild and considered pioneer territory, it was interesting to read what wildlife, natives and trees used to be here that aren't any more. To be honest, this was a bit tedious and long. But if you want to take a peak through the looking glass and see what the land you're standing on looked like in the early 1700's it's interesting. Since I live one of the places where Boone settled when it was still wild and considered pioneer territory, it was interesting to read what wildlife, natives and trees used to be here that aren't any more.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elliott Petty

    I measure a history/biographyby whether I feel enriched by it, gripped by its atory, and whether I would be happy if a friend or relative also read it. This book meets those criteria. The second quarter seemed a little slow but the second half ended strong. Long. A solid picture of not just a fascinating individual hut a window into the pre- and post-revolution frontier (Mostly western VA, KY, and a bit of MO). I hope you enjoy it, too.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sammy Duncan

    Being a Son of the Bluegrass, I felt it almost essential to better understand the life and times of the man most responsible for opening the Dark and Bloody Ground to settlement from the eastern colonies. Boone was a man of contradictions and a man of his times but Kentucky would not be Kentucky without him.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kerry Eckhardt

    I had read several of Mr. Morgan's novels and was familiar with his excellent writing. This bio of Daniel was very enjoyable. It is a history of the early westward expansion of our country pre-Revolutionary War times as well as a biography of a very interesting and influential man. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in American history. I had read several of Mr. Morgan's novels and was familiar with his excellent writing. This bio of Daniel was very enjoyable. It is a history of the early westward expansion of our country pre-Revolutionary War times as well as a biography of a very interesting and influential man. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in American history.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.