I just finished Boone, A Biography by Robert Morgan. What a read!
Boone, born in 1734 (D.1820), had many of our Revolutionary Heroes as contemporaries, yet is predominantly known for his western explorations, particularly of Kentucky. In the common mythology of Boone, upon which my initial perceptions lay, I erroneously placed Boone later in time, not realizing he spent many years in Kentucky fighting Indians allied with the Brits in the Revolutionary War, and later, the Indian Wars.
The book is extremely comprehensive and well footnoted, and while at times a wee bit slow, it will be an authoritative text. It makes Boone a very sympathetic character, and sadly enough, fairly tragic in many respects. While successful as an explorer, hunter, trapper, father and husband, he failed at many other endeavors, usually due to his lack of attention to business details or his trust in the honesty of others.
My families oral history includes a rumor of an ancestor "adopted" by Boone due to the death of his parents. I have never found any written record of the "adoption," but in that period adoptions could well be informal, and Boone had many friends and their children pass through his cabin(s) many times. In short passage a comment is made in passing about a woman that was a contemporary with the same surname. Interesting.This commanding biography from New York Times bestselling author Robert Morgan transforms a mythic American hero—a legend in his own time—into a flesh-and-blood man.Morgan's sweeping biography of Daniel Boone is the story of America—its ideals, its promise, its romance, and its destiny. It is the most comprehensive book ever written about the man who was the largest spirit of his time. Hunter, explorer, settler, he was a trailblazer and a revolutionary—an American icon for more than two hundred years.
Born in 1734, Boone participated in the colonization of North America, the settling of the Middle Plain, the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, the election of his friend as the first president of the United States, the Louisiana Purchase, and the Westward Expansion. Unlike others of his time, he had a reverence for the Indians, who taught him how to hunt, navigate, and survive in the impenetrable wilderness. He accomplished feat after impossible feat yet was also accused of treason, fraud, hypocrisy; was court-martialed; and was sued for debt again and again. By the end of his life, most of his land claims had been lost to lawyers, politicians, and better businessmen than he.
Extensive endnotes, fascinating cultural and historical background material, maps, illustrations, and an index underscore the scope of this distinguished and immensely entertaining work by a writer who, like novelist-turned- historian Shelby Foote, has the talent and the knowledge to make this legendary American come vividly to life.(Amazon Review)
Boone: A Biography | Robert Morgan
For those of you that enjoy history, Morgan filled a gap in my knowledge which I thoroughly enjoyed filling.The story of Daniel Boone is the story of America— its ideals, its promise, its romance, and its destiny. Robert Morgan reveals the complex character of a frontiersman whose heroic life was far stranger and more fascinating than the myths that surround him.
Having now read Morgan's Lions of the West which I enjoyed immensely, I'll probably take a short breather and move on to Gap Creek.