Book: Daniel Boone

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Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer

Author: John Mack Faragher
Publisher: Owl Books

In the first and most reliable biography of Daniel Boone in more than fifty years, award-winning historian Faragher brilliantly portrays America’s famous frontier hero. Drawing from popular narrative, the public record, scraps of documentation from Boone’s own hand, and a treasure of reminiscence gathered by nineteenth-century antiquarians, Faragher uses the methods of new social history to create a portrait of the man and the times he helped shape. Blending themes from a much vitalized Western and frontier history with the words and ideas of ordinary people, Faragher has produced a book that will stand as the definitive life of Daniel Boone for decades to come, and one that illuminates the frontier world of Boone like no other.


The legend of the American frontier is largely the legend of a single individual, Daniel Boone, who looms over our folklore like a giant. Boone figures in other traditions as well: Goethe held him up as the model of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “natural man,” and Lord Byron devoted several stanzas of his epic poem Don Juan to the frontiersman, calling Boone “happiest of mortals any where.” But folklore is not history, and we are fortunate to have a reliable and factual life of Boone through the considerable efforts of John Mack Faragher. The contradictory admirer of Indians who participated in their destruction, the slaveholder who cherished liberty, the devoted family man who prized solitude and would disappear into the woods for years at a time—the real Boone is far more interesting than the mythical image, and in this book we finally catch sight of him.

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