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The Frontiersmen (Winning of America #1)

4.39 of 5 stars 4.39  ·  rating details  ·  1,536 ratings  ·  167 reviews
White man's massacre. Red man's revenge.

Driven from their homeland, the Indians fought bitterly to keep a final stronghold east of the Mississippi. Savage cunning, strength, skill and knowledge of the wilderness were their weapons, and the Indians used them mercilessly. But they couldn't foresee the white men who would come later, men who loved the land as much as they did
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Paperback, 626 pages
Published August 1st 1981 by Bantam Books (first published June 1st 1967)
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Community Reviews

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Lisa
Jul 07, 2008 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: friends who do not have a weak stomach
Recommended to Lisa by: Grandpa
One of the best written historical novels about the settling of the American "West" at the time of the Revolutionary War. Western Ohio that is.

I rated The Frontiersmen a five star because it changed my view of American history. Eckert is a master at transporting the reader back to a historical moment, creating a good story around the facts, and making the reader care. This book left me in awe of our ancestors' ability to survive. This was a ruthless time and both Whites and Native Americans did
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Nate
My first Eckert, and probably my second or third experience with this strange and hard-to-define "narrative" style. From my understanding, it exists in that esoteric space between fiction and non; it reads as a novel, but hews too closely to an academic vibe with use of primary sources, etc. to be lumped in with an ordinary historical novel or whatever you wanna call it. I like it! You can get the immersive, intense experience of a well-researched novel without the usual (necessary) factual sket ...more
Matt
You can't mention The Frontiersman, or any of Allan W. Eckert's Winning of America Series, without noting its unique species: history-in-the-form-of-a-novel. It is not, repeat not, historical fiction. Instead, as Eckert takes pains to point out in his forward, every event described in the book actually occurred in the manner described. Every word used in dialogue comes from primary sources: journals, newspapers, diaries, etc.

What makes this book novelistic is that Eckert has taken the unorthodo
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Mike (the Paladin)
I read this book long ago and really enjoyed it. It may be harder to track down now...but if you like historical fiction it's a good read. Really.

I plan to "re-read" this if I can make room on my list. I read it back in the '70s and liked it a lot. Hope I can work in a reread.


......update 5/7/14.......

I read this first in 1970 and always remembered it as a good read. It is, it's so good I've decided to up my rating to 5 stars.

This book is history but written with all the excitement and interes
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Adambmour
This is a revisit to my childhood. I had to read this in middle school over the summer. At the time I hated it because of its sheer size (600+ pages). But, upon reading it as an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Frontiersmen chronicles the life of Simon Kenton (a Kentucky frontiersman) and Tecumseh (the leader of the Shawnee) and the events surrounding the white expansion into what is now known as Ohio and Kentucky. Unlike many historical books, Eckert uses various resources, journals, newspap ...more
Ó Ruairc
I've read the 'Frontiersmen' three or four times; it's a magnificent book. Be that as it may, I do find one shortcoming regarding Eckert's narrative. In the introduction, the author states that his book is fact, not fiction. Unfortunately, this is not entirely correct. Without a doubt, Eckert dramatizes a lot of the events that occurred during the time period in which 'The Frontiersmen' takes place. Too, he writes convincingly about a few incidents that have no basis for historical accuracy or c ...more
Steve Carroll
My vacation read. This is an interesting series of quasi-historical fiction. They are structured like novels with dialogue interpolated but Eckert tries to stay as close as possible to the historical record. The series covers an area of history that I don't know much about, the founding of the states just West of the original colonies and this volume focuses on Ohio and Kentucky in particular. I picked up the 4th book in the series because it covers the founding of my home state of Illinois and ...more
Mitzi
AMAZING. The research that went into this book is mind boggling, but when you add to it that this is just one in a series of SIX it is almost too much to fathom! I agree with the other reviews that say it is a tragedy that Simon Kenton isn't more well known, I developed a hardcore history crush on him as I read this book. :) A must read for anyone who is interested in the settling of Kentucky and Ohio!
Juls
Aug 10, 2007 Juls rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Buckeyes
Simon Kenton, what a hunk. All I can say is that Ohio is a sweet place to grow up and learn about history. This books is a fictional retelling of the history of wait, I forget, oh yeah, frontiersmen in Ohio. Written by a Buckeye, what's cool is that the events and places mentioned are still existing and visit-able. Yes I know that's not a word. Pretty factual hardcore writing, but it's a goodie.
Jim
What a great book. I think this should be required reading for for youth. Not just about interesting history, but human nature and Christianity. Ok, sure some controversy about BlueJacket and his genetics, and books statements, but I see as a small blemish. A lot to be learned in this book about the faults of humanity and incredible history.
Dpdwyer
I wanted to like this book more than I did. Eckert certainly did his homework. The level of historical detail about the settling of the Ohio Valley is excellent. His decision to write his account as a novel with dialogue taken (or sometimes imagined) from original sources didn’t entirely work for me. The characters tended to be one-dimensional, mainly heroes or villains, reminding me unfortunately of movies I watched as a kid on Saturday mornings. I would have preferred more depth of character, ...more
Derek
Another in the series of books from Allan W. Eckert about the formative period of the United States between the French and Indian War and the War of 1812. Simon Kenton and Tecumseh are the central figures in a meticulously researched historical novel, a genre Eckert has mastered.
P.D.
Everyone has that first book when they were a kid, that first book that initiated them to the world of literature. For me The Frontiersman was that book. It is a wonderful achievement of narrative history.
Caroline
This is the story of Simon Kenton and Tecumseh written in a very compelling and factual way with a wonderful narrative element. Anyone who lives in the Ohio Valley will be amazed by who came before us.
Brian Seagrave
Should be a reading assignment for Harry Reid and all the apologists for US policy regarding the wars with the aborigines. The Frontiersmen is excerpts from the diaries and letters of the eyewitnesses to the aborigines' brutality and atrocities. Stay close to a bathroom in case you have to vomit after reading of the burning at the stake of one American.

Eckert's historical narratives are the best way to read nonfiction history. Horrifying depictions of the brutality of both sides, but most espec
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Lance
The best book about native americans I have ever read. A must read for those that have any interest in Native Americans especially Ohio natives.
Marcus
Mar 29, 2014 Marcus rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers of Historical Fiction
It is important to remember when reading "The Frontiersmen" that it is historical fiction. Historical fiction is entertainment, and it was written for that purpose. But too often, I've found that non historians treat Eckert's work as historical fact.

When writing "The Frontiersmen," Eckert did research in the diaries and records of early settlers. While this is commendable work, and extensive, it focuses on one side of the American/Indian conflict on the Frontier. In contrast, there is very littl
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Mark G
It is funny growing up as a kid watching the TV shows and learning in history classes the greatness of Daniel Boone though once I have read "The Frontiersmen" I realize the Simon Kenton, though friends with Daniel Boone, seems to have made more influence on the development of the frontier. This was such a great book to read and makes me respect the Native Americans of the Ohio Valley, particularly the Shawnee. Growing up I was taught by society that the Native Americans (aka Indians) were ruthle ...more
Danny M
Oct 17, 2013 Danny M rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
THE NOVEL IS THE STORY OF THE FRONTIERSMAN SIMON KENTON WHO AS A TEENAGER BECAME ONE THE BRAVEST, MOST SKILLED FRONTIERSMAN OF THE LATE 1700'S. SIMON KENTON WAS PERHAPS THE MOST COMPELLING FRONTIERSMAN ON THAT ERA DESPITE HIS MORE FAMOUS PROTEGES. SIMON KENTON BECAME A FRIEND OF DANIEL BOONE AND SAVED HIS LIFE DURING A DARING RESCUE AT THE BATTLE OF BOONSBORO. THE NOVEL MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE THERE AMONG THE GREAT FRONTIERSMAN AND INDIANS. IT WAS A TIME OF COURAGE AND PERSERVERENCE JUST TO ...more
Parker F
This book was so exciting that I refused to believe that it was true. I was right! Though Eckert prefaces the book with an explanation that while his narrative style requires him to reconstruct conversations in a wat that may not be entirely verbatim, everything that he writes is well-supported by primary sources. But a little research reveals that his definition of primary source is often "something one crazy person said one hundred years later." Thus, the story advances a somewhat racist, revi ...more
Paula
Admittedly, I have not finished reading this book. However, I am all but certain that this book will go in the ranks of books, like the novel 1984, that I have decided never to complete. I was over a third of the way through the book before making that decision, and I wish that I had decided it before I read that final chapter. I now have images in my mind of the slow torture (by piercing, by burning, by stoning, etc.) that one frontiersman endured at the hands of his Native American captors. Th ...more
Faith Justice
The author calls this a novel about the settling of whites beyond the Allegheny Mountains, primarily in Kentucky and Ohio, but also a bit beyond to Indiana, Tennessee and Missouri. It reads like non-fiction--straightforward narrative with chapter notes. The author does impute emotions to the characters in a novelistic way. The dialog is supposedly taken from diaries and published accounts. I found the writing plain but the history fascinating, especially since I grew up in Ohio and was somewhat ...more
Brian
This series was recommend to me by the owner of my company. It seemed a good fit giving a history of the United States in the same vein as Foote's Civil War trilogy.

Eckert's style allows this to be read as fiction. The dialogue draws you through the pages but with the frequent section breaks makes pausing very manageable.

This volume deals with the life of Simon (aka "Butler") Kenton, of whom I never heard of but greatly admire after this read, and Tecumseh, known by most Indiana school children.
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Raymond
We were then in a dangerous, helpless situation, exposed daily to perils and death amongst savages and wild beasts, not a white man in the country but ourselves.
-Daniel Boone

In the shadow of the American struggle for independence there was but another battle of wills being fought on the frontier of what would become known as Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, West Virginia, Indiana and Michigan. One of natural deceit and atrocity, but at the same time of honor and mutual respect. Untainted beauty and imm
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Demetrius Lindsey

Allen W. Eckert brings history to life with his book The Frontiersmen: A narrative, the explicit details that Eckert packs into this 626 page narrative leaves the reader in awe. Never before have I come across such a well written true non friction narrative of the history thru the eyes frontiersmen. This narrative is nothing like the noble tales of Daniel Boone that the youth in America learn about, this is the gritty and overwhelming story of his counterpart Simon Kenton. In this narrative the
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Michael
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 adve ...more
Chris
I can't believe I hadn't read this book before. I'm a historical fiction buff, and I also love the time period (late 18th century) and the location (the Ohio Valley/Northwest Territory)

First off, yes, this is a gory book. That seems to be what every single review focuses on. "OMG THERE'S LIKE TORTURE AND STUFF!!1!" But it isn't lovingly described, a la "Saw", or anything like that. It's presented as historical fact, WHICH IT IS. The whites and native americans did terrible things to each other o
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Auguste
I'm not sure why I became interested in the early history of America. I think it was inspired by a desire to understand our present culture better. At any rate this novel filled in the map of the western edge of the colonies during the time of the revolution as we turned our attentions westward. After reading this book I only wish that history would have given the French, and many Native American tribes a more prominent role in our present cultural formation.
Melody
I never, ever thought I would enjoy a book about Indians and Indian fighters – but yes, I believe I did: All 665 pages of it (including extensive chapter notes and index). I re-learned some things I very foggily remembered about America’s early history.
This book has many descriptive chapters about the brutal way the Indians massacred the early frontier families and an equal number of descriptions of the scalping and mutilation of Indians by the white invaders. The author takes great care to rep
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Jim
I wish our study of American history throughout grammar and high school had included writings such as this novel. The Frontiersmen is primarily based on history and our author has included his literal interpretation of events and conversations that occurred between the characters. This book is about the expansion of he United States out of the East coast states across the mountains and into the MidWest, it includes the prominent events and peoples of that time. There are introductions into the A ...more
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Allan W. Eckert was an American historian, historical novelist, and naturalist.
More about Allan W. Eckert...
Incident at Hawk's Hill A Sorrow in Our Heart: The Life of Tecumseh Wilderness Empire (Winning of America) That Dark and Bloody River The Conquerors (Winning of America Series)

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