The frontiersmen were a remarkable breed of men. They were often rough and illiterate, sometimes brutal and vicious, often seeking an escape in the wilderness of mid-America from crimes committed back east. In the beautiful but deadly country that would one day come to be known as West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, more often than not they left their bones to bleach beside forest paths or on the banks of the Ohio River, victims of Indians who claimed the vast virgin territory and strove to turn back the growing tide of whites.
These frontiersmen are the subjects of Allan W. Eckert's dramatic history. Against the background of such names as George Rogers Clark, Daniel Boone, Arthur St. Clair, Anthony Wayne, Simon Girty, and William Henry Harrison, Eckert has re-created the life of one of America's most outstanding heroes, Simon Kenton. Kenton's role in opening the Northwest Territory to settlement more than rivaled that of his friend Daniel Boone. By his 18th birthday, Kenton had already won frontier renown as woodsman, fighter, and scout. His incredible physical strength and endurance, his great dignity and innate kindness made him the ideal prototype of the frontier hero.
Yet there is another story to The Frontiersmen. It is equally the story of one of history's greatest leaders, whose misfortune was to be born to a doomed cause and a dying race. Tecumseh, the brilliant Shawnee chief, welded together by the sheer force of his intellect and charisma an incredible Indian confederacy that came desperately close to breaking the thrust of the white man's westward expansion. Like Kenton, Tecumseh was the paragon of his people's virtues, and the story of his life, in Eckert's hands, reveals most profoundly the grandeur and the tragedy of the American Indian.
©2001 Jesse Stuart Foundation (P)2011 Tantor
"Historian-novelist Eckert has fashioned an epic narrative history of the struggle for dominance of the Ohio River Valley that makes compelling reading." (Publishers Weekly)
There are parts of this story that are so graphic that I had a hard time sleeping. I believe it is realistic, though, and its intent was to portray reality and not to just be gruesome for the sake of being gruesome. The descriptions of sexual scenes was wholly unnecessary and the only reason it was not five stars.
When I read the reviews for this book they were all so gushing that I almost couldn't believe they were true. So, I listened to this book and it truly is outstanding. The story line compares with Unbroken in that there is one amazing event happening to Simon after another. How can one man live through even one of these things let alone go through years of them? The main character is a true hero. This makes the overall book a positive and uplifting experience. You get both sides of the picture in that the Native American side is told through Tecumseh's perspective and the settler's side is told through Simon Kenton. The narrator is one of the best I have heard. He pronounces the words properly and inflects appropriately and consistently based on the changing characters. This is early American history at its very best. I am anxiously looking forward to more from both the author Allan Eckert and his narrator Kevin Foley. Thank you gentlemen for a great work.
Allan Eckert brought to life a period of American history that is not discussed much today.
The book is an amazing historical picture of the magnetic draw of the territory west of the original thirteen colonies, later to be the United States, and the brave men and women drawn to these vast unknown regions. This book is on par with Steven Ambrose's book "Undaunted Courage" the story of Lewis and Clark.
Husband, father, building contractor, inventor and audio book lover.
This is a nonfiction book but it is difficult to believe it to be so. The stories are so amazing, and the detail so complete that it strains credulity. Not to say that this book is not enjoyable, it is absolutely compelling and reads like a action novel. The characters are historical figures, as are the events,. The author claims this to be a scholarly work of history, I will therefor, give him the benefit of my doubts and suspend disbelief in this case. The is the history of the founding of the frontier and is a brutal and often disturbing narrative. I suppose is why it is so interesting. The Americans and the "Indians" are portrayed fairly in both harsh and flattering lights, there were few innocents in these times. It is clear that the Americans moved in on the aboriginal's land. I suppose little could be done about that, history is not fair, but the author does a pretty good job of telling it in a fair voice. As always, Ken Foley does a fine job in the narration. If you love history you will love this book.
I have not enjoyed any audiobook as much as this one. If you love history and a good story then get this book. I have not even finished the book yet but I felt compelled to write a review already. The story is expertly researched and told by a narrator who does a masterful job of going into and out of character. This is a great story that you will enjoy.
It's a remarkable book: rich in detail and characters, many of whom sound more like the heroes (or villains) in novels than out of history. It's the story of the building of the west and the horrendous slaughter of the Native Americans. If you didn't feel guilty about being a white American before you read this, you will by the time you are done.
The narrator is excellent and does a fine yet subtle job with the various voices. It's a long book, but it never drags.
I was completely caught up in it from the beginning through all the subsequent hours. A winner and an eye opener as well. There is a lot of information in here that you aren't going to get in standard American history and those of us unfamiliar with it or only nominally acquainted with it need to hear the truth. We built the country on the blood of those who already lived here and we have a lot to answer for.
This my headline: it is remarkable in its thoroughness and vivid recreation of character. The tale, though history, is fascinating. And the role of the US government and many of our pioneers is appalling. All three are simultaneously true, making it quite an intense listening experience. I highly recommend it.
The narration was strong overall, although the male narrator trying to speak in a female voice was laughable. But overall well done.
Eckert is an excellent writer who knows how to bring characters to life. While factually inaccurate in some areas, it's still a great read that gives a strong introduction to the western US following the Revolution.
Other folks have raved about this book based on it's historical accuracy; but this assumption is highly debatable. For instance, one of the main characters of the story, the Shawnee chief known as Blue Jacket is depicted as a Caucasian born Shawneephile named Marmaduke Van Swearingen who voluntarily joined the tribe as a young adult. As it turns out, the author evidently adopted this from a series of fictional books published in the 60s. However, according to the experts, Blue Jacket was already a Shawnee chief at the time of the young Marmaduke's abduction, not voluntary joining with the tribe. This seems to be born out by DNA testing to settle the issue once and for all.
That said, it's not a bad book, and seems to be fairly accurate on the bigger events, though some of the dialogue is embarrassingly bad, especially in what's supposed to pass for romantic scenes. The narrator is passable, though he loses points for mispronunciations and his feminine voices are just.....let's just say they'd be funny if they weren't so shame inducing. Why do some of these guys insist on faking a falsetto when they sound so ridiculous doing it???
Is it worth the credit? Yeah, but don't expect a 4.5 star performance. It ain't all that.
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