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)
Was initially interesting, but about half way through managed to lose my interest. Kept trying to return to it, but couldn't
Didn't get there
Truly an astonishing story of brave men and women in early American history. Leadership lessons from men big and small. Wonderful way to connect to ones past where honor, above all else, reigned supreme.
This is the greatest American classic. A must read for every young man living in the Midwest, but they won't teach this in school it's both brutal and true. I appreciate it more the older I become realizing this story is modern history not ancient history. Knowing the creek or river you're passing over on your way to work, just yesterday had hundreds of Indians floating down it in canoes on the path to war.
This is the most important work on frontier expansion I have read. Settlement of Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana was an important formatve economic and cultural event during immediate post revolutionary America. Further, Ohio was our first 'mid-Wesern' state, is seventh in state in national population and remains central to American poltics to this very day.
The book nicely describes the initial haphazard and dangerous conditions of the migration and its breath taking speed of advance towards Indiana and then North to the Great Lakes. Further, most of this was undertaken by civilian pioneers - hardly a Conquistador in sight. Further, the book includes the best, most ballanced narrative of settler/indian relatinships I have encounterred; both personal and govermental relationships. The detaled development of Tehcumsa's decade long political/religious movement is especially good.
One shortcomming is the lack of any good summary for the development of North Eastern Ohio (The Western Reserve) which is a relatively short distance from Pitsburgh Pensylvania from which many settlers departed for Ohio and Kentucky. This seemed odd since Northern Ohio not only borders Pesylvania on its East but lake Erie on its North - a long standing East West trade route. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact N Eastern Ohio was I believe, reservedfor parceling out to Revolutionary veterans from Connecticut and is a separate story? Another way to look at this is you get your monies worth.
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.
It's a fun read, but DNA evidence of Blue Jacket's descendants confirmed that he was not white. Most conversations in this read are pure speculation or legends. If this sparks an interest in the reader for history, that's great. As historical fiction, it has a good narrative flow. The writer was very familiar with the period and major events throughout Kentucky and the Old Northwest. But to start with the words "this is a true story", it should not take such liberty with other people's thoughts and words. Use dialogue from people's letters, reports, and diaries. Good history books are well sourced and able to stand up to scrutiny.
Fascinating and informative. A great listen. The reading forms a tapestry of the brave people that forged our developmental years.
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