Synopses & Reviews
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.
Particular events define a life that becomes legend. For George Washington it was the winter at Valley Forge. For Benjamin Franklin it began with a key on a kite string. For Daniel Boone it was finding his way through the wilderness to that narrow mountain gap into Kentucky in 1769, guaranteeing that the nation about to be born would extend to the west.
In this rich, authoritative biography, Robert Morgan 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 Washington and Franklin.
Born in 1734 in Pennsylvania to English Quaker colonists, Daniel Boone led hundreds of settlers west over the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky and the Ohio Valley, and, finally, to Missouri, where he died penniless at the age of eighty-six, having lost his holdings to lawyers and politicians and better businessmen.
Morgan reminds us that Boone was more than a trailblazer: he fought in the French and Indian War and in the American Revolution; he served in the Virginia Legislature; he was a Freemason; he was a settler, landowner, and sometime surveyor; and his reverence for life in the wilderness inspired Romantic writers like Wordsworth, Bartram, Byron, Whitman—inspired Romanticism itself.
Boone was the first great American frontier hero—he cherished the land, and while he wanted to settle it, he also longed to conserve its wildness. Almost alone among his fellow settlers, Daniel Boone revered, studied, and emulated the Native American way of life, especially in the preservation of land resources. But his own claim for himself was much simpler: "I am a woodsman."
Robert Morgan's Boone sets the reader squarely down in those eighteenth-century American woods to meet a living, breathing Daniel Boone, ultimate American pioneer, dreamer, visionary.
"[An] absorbing and stirring chronicle of the great frontiersman....Outstanding." Booklist (starred review)
"A beautifully written biography of American scout Daniel Boone as a frontier Moses, leading his people over the western mountains to the rich promised lands of Kentucky....Strongly recommended."
Library Journal (starred review)
"Robert Morgan's lyric mountain language is equal to the epic sweep of history, to the grandeur of the land itself."—Lee Smith
A "revelatory biography . . . [Morgan] crafts images that carry the reader into that world which Boone saw . . . It was Boone's exploits that became the stuff of legend, and Morgan narrates them with well-sourced attention to historical accuracy and a keen sense of how Boone operated in the wilderness where 'skill and guile' were necessary for survival. . . . What Morgan has done with his Boone, is to make the man important as an entry point for today's readers into what has become legend."--Michael Kenney, Boston Globe Boston Globe
"From the crisp first sentence 'Forget the coonskin cap; he never wore one' novelist Morgan (Gap Creek) stakes a fresh claim on the life of famed 18th-century frontiersman Daniel Boone. In this long, passionate, and authoritative bio, Morgan traces Boone's 'fiddle-footed' ancestors from Quaker England to Pennsylvania, sorts out the myths and half-truths surrounding his exploits, and analyzes his legacy. The man that emerges is unschooled yet brilliant, a genius at negotiating with the Indians and reading the wilderness, though, tragically, a complete failure at prospering in the white settlements he helped to found. B+"--Entertainment Weekly Entertainment Weekly
"Morgan provides the finest fictional re-creation of the horrific war in the Southern theater of the War for Independence that I have ever read."—Joseph J. Ellis
"Boone comes fully alive in [these] pages. Morgan's objectivity gives us a completely realized man."
—Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly
A "comprehensive and deeply sympathetic biography . . . Morgan is right to see [Boone's] life as colored by ambiguity as well as by triumph. . . [As Morgan writes,] it is 'hard to rescue figures like Daniel Boone and Johnny Appleseed from the distortions of television and Walt Disney.' Morgan's biography is just such a rescue job, and a wholly successful one. . . . The thoroughness and authority of Boone: A Biography are beyond dispute. Though there have been many biographies of Boone . . . this one strikes me as ideally suited to today's reader with its vivid descriptive passages (Morgan is, after all, a novelist and poet), its persuasive portrait of Boone and its firm sense of his place in American history."--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World The Washington Post
"Boone is an excellent biography based on a mountain of research. Robert Morgan . . . is exactly the writer to produce this inquisitive study. Morgan's venerable career in fiction has served him well in his understanding of Boone's multifaceted persona and in his understanding of the expansion of the young republic."-- Roanoke Times Roanoke Times
"The thoroughness and authority of Boone are beyond dispute. Though there have been many biographies of Boone...this one strikes me as ideally suited to today's reader with its vivid descriptive passages (Morgan is, after all, a novelist and poet), its persuasive portrait of Boone and its firm sense of his place in American history."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World The Washington Post
"[A] revelatory biography. . . . What Morgan has done with his Boone is to make the man important as an entry point for today’s readers into what has become legend."—The Boston Globe Boston Globe
"The flesh-and-blood Boone who emerges is vivid and rare, a far cry from the enigmatic icon. This is historical biography at its best."—St. Louis Dispatch St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"With Mr. Morgan as biographer, Boone definitely lucked out...Stunning." — The Dallas Morning News
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.
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.
About the Author
Robert Morgan, author of the award-winning novel Gap Creek, is a native of the North Carolina mountains, where he was raised on land settled by his Welsh ancestors.