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.
The Frontiersman follows the life of Simon Kenton from coming of age as a restless do-nothing to trapper and Indian fighter in the mid-18th to early 19th century. Ohio and Kentucky were the wilderness, the frontier where land claims could be had simply by marking trees with an ax. As Kenton found out, with the arrival of civilization establishing title was a more complex procedure. The Indians were not willing partners in the settling of the land by colonists and immigrants. Tecumseh is the adversarial opposite of Kenton; he attempts to knit together an Indian confederation to take on the white man, to turn back the tide of immigrants. There are a great many historical characters including Daniel Boone who make appearances. Eckert uses his imagination depicting what happened on a micro-historical level and undoubtedly takes literary license frequently. It is a good device to keep the larger tale of history compelling. Both the Indian and pioneers commit heinous acts; justice is served at gunpoint more often than not. There are many insights and anecdotes to a story with a well-known outcome that keep it interesting.
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 controversy surrounding the character Bluejacket notwithstanding, this is an important work of historical writing. I learned more about the westward expansion of our country, particularly the settlement of Ohio, Kentucky than I ever did in all the courses I took on American History. Perhaps the fact that the book is based on actual events and not fiction is what most makes it compelling. I loved this book.
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