Boone: A Biography
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Boone: A Biography

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  595 ratings  ·  138 reviews
The story of Daniel Boone is the story of America—its ideals, its promise, its romance, and its destiny. Bestselling, critically acclaimed author Robert Morgan reveals the complex character of a frontiersman whose heroic life was far stranger and more fascinating than the myths that surround him.

This rich, authoritative biography offers a wholly new perspective on a man w...more
Hardcover, 538 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (first published September 21st 2007)
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Elizabeth
BOONE was a fascinating read, and offered many things I look for in a great biography: insight, understanding of why the subject is worth knowing, human perspective, and historical perspective, all in a narrative that flows like a good story. Robert Morgan, more known for his fiction, has accomplished much of this, though I dropped the fifth star because it needed some additional editing to remove a fair amount of unnecessary repetition and to improve the flow in a few places where the narrative...more
Steven Peterson
What strikes me as the greatest accomplishment of Robert Morgan in this biography of Daniel Boone is stripping away the myth and describing the person. Boone himself was a complex figure. He was a great success as a trapper and explorer. He routinely failed as a businessman and land speculator. He was lucky and he made his own luck. Despite being so well known to Americans, he died in Missouri at 86 and was pretty much broke. His story was such that he was mentioned in the works of poets and wri...more
J.R.
Separating fact from fiction in writing a biography of an iconic figure like Boone is a major challenge and Morgan is to be commended for this effort. It’s unfortunate the several efforts Boone made to leave a personal account of his life were lost due to accidents and misadventures and later biographers were forced to rely on written records that may have been biased or based on hearsay.

Morgan’s research clears up many of the false assertions about Boone and gives us a closer look at the real m...more
Julie
Liked the book. Thanks to the tv show I thought Dan'l Boone wore a coonskin cap and wandered around exploring the frontier and saving settler's lives.

This book gave me a much better and more detailed account of Daniel Boone and his life; I realized that there is a man behind the legend who struggled with much of the same things people do today.

I found it kind of sad actually; that a man who so loved the wilderness of Kentucky but lived through the disappearance of wildlife as well as the land...more
Patricia Mendez
Having grown up on the Disney t.v. show, Daniel Boone, I appreciated being disabused of the fantasy ideas I had absorbed as a child about this man. This book was so interesting not only about Daniel's life but also about the wilderness of Can tuck ee (Kentucky) and the Shawnee Indians. It seems like you can almost reach out and touch the time and place at one moment. And in the next moment you can't help feeling sad that this world is gone. The wilderness, the wild animals, the native American c...more
John
A well-written and comprehensive life of Daniel Boone. The author is a poet and novelist, but he appears to have done his homework. It is generally fair-minded, pointing out both the good and bad. I enjoyed reading (well, listening to) the book, so the following are only quibbles:

1. The book contained a number of purple passage, no doubt reflecting the author's background as a poet and novelist.

2. At times, I felt the author was too speculative, especially concerning Boone's connection with free...more
Eric
Boone is now familiar. I knew nothing of him or his life prior to reading this biography. Other than his constant plague of debt, he was a great example of what a man should be. He's the guy you'd want telling stories around a campfire.
The author gives great comments: p. 109 "In his midthirties a man either reaches out toward risk and glory or stays within the routines of the expected ordinary. It is the age when men leave safe homes and jobs and go on voyages, odysseys, perform transforming sac...more
Jon
Still in it. Boone is an ancestor of mine. My great-grandmother was a Boone, but I've known nothing of his life other than what TV and movies have (I have seen) mislead us to believe. And as Morgan states early on, Boone, while both a success and a failure (depending on how you define the terms), was always true to himself. In addition to bold explorations of North America, he broke down cultural barriers as well.

Morgan's detailed research is clearly evident, almost to a fault, as some depth of...more
Melissa
I debated whether or not I should read/listen to this as reviews on amazon were mixed, from boring & dull to fantastic! But I decided to give it a shot because I'm looking for books that my husband and son would be interested in and thought some of these early "mountain men" stories would be in their realm of interest.

After about the first hour and a half of listening I was in the boring & dull category, but decided to stick with it a little longer. Now that I've finished it, I'm far f...more
John Parker
Nov 26, 2008 John Parker rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: frontier and Kentucky enthusiasts
Boone adds to the the glut of literature on the frontiersman, but not for every reader. Personally, I found some of the information repetitious, overly romanticized (it's D. Boone, ok)and a bit fragmented.

Daniel has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, and then some. His brother Squire, intersects my family line on the Boggs side, so I am somewhat biased at times. My childhood was filled with Boone thanks to living in southern Ohio and having Kentucky roots; add to that, my images...more
Travis Mcclain
Jun 26, 2010 Travis Mcclain rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Travis by: Lateralus on DVD Talk
I have a DVD Talk community member to thank for reading Boone: A Biography. I have seen, time and again, that Lateralus is an avid reader of history and so when he declared this work on one of my childhood heroes the best book he'd read in two years I knew I had to read it. The moment I fell in love with this book came when I pictured Boone, the only living soul living in Kentucky, camped out at night reading Gulliver's Travels and the Holy Bible. What wondrous times those must have been, for a...more
Suzanne
“Forget the coonskin cap; he never wore one. Daniel Boone thought coonskin caps uncouth, heavy, and uncomfortable. He always wore a beaver felt hat to protect him from sun and rain. The coonskin-topped Boone is the image from Hollywood and television. In fact, much that the public thinks it knows about Boone is fiction.”

A couple of months ago I was reading a collection of pioneer stories from The Salem Democrat compiled in a book called Pioneer Pickings. In the book, were stories of Micajah Cal...more
Adrienne
Jun 20, 2008 Adrienne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fess Parker
Detailed research. Boy was I ignorant of Dan'l Boone, even though I now realize our paths crossed in a number of ways. Sometimes the author's desire to tie Boone to the poetry and impact of the Romantics and Transcendentalists was a little forced feeling, but it is probably hard to overstate the impact this forerunner had on those movements.

I hadn't realized Daniel's life in NC was so extensive. He even served at Fort Dobbs--the pre-Revolutionary War outpost that "I" served at in a high school d...more
Geoff
Boone was born a Quaker in Pennsylvania. An accomplished hunter and woodman, a natural leader people followed to settle the frontier of Kentucky during 1770’s. Boone developed roads into Kentucky through the famous Cumberland Gap; hunted and trapped; and surveyed the land later in his career. At this time, panthers roamed the cane breaks of Kentucky and buffalos could be found at the salt licks. Ironically, the avid outdoorsmen Boone leading settlers into the area destroyed the aspects of Kentuc...more
Edwin Arnaudin
An interesting read, but ultimately one that's too long to sustain descriptions and a brand of language that quickly become repetitious.

Morgan's first non-fiction text showcases his talent with words and legitimacy as a writer of fiction and prose. Daniel Boone is a remarkable subject to explore and the task of separating truth from the numerous legends is truly daunting. However, by including what feels like all of the legends, Morgan often overloads the reader with information and then adds hi...more
Adam Carman
This book was one of the best biographies I've read in awhile, a real step forward in American history. Morgan applies Daniel Richter's "Facing Eastward From Indian Country" to Daniel Boone. The years of the legend's life stretch from the heady days of the French and Indian War to the time of the Missouri Crisis and Compromise. Yet Boone knew little, or only until after the fact, about the earth-shattering events of the American Revolution, Constitutional Convention, and the rise of Thomas Jeffe...more
Christian
Probably closer to 3.5 stars than 3, this is an interesting biography of Daniel Boone that does a good job of portraying life on the frontier during the late 18th century.

The good:
-You get a real feel for frontier life
-For the most part sticks to factual evidence (see The bad)
-Does an excellent job with several incidents in sorting out the various biographical takes on them

The bad:
-Waxes way too lyrical at some moments, especially when Boone is off by himself. I understand that it's part of his...more
David
Very well-written, accessible account of Daniel Boone's life and times. Boone's life was a dividing line between contrasting elements in American history: Between the natural and the civilized, between Indian and White, between the hunt and the farm, between Peace and War. His trailblazing carried the frontier across the new and growing nation. And as he stood at the frontier he tried to combine both worlds but never quite achieved a happy medium. He tried his hand at farming, or surveying, or o...more
Travis
Boone : a biography, is a well researched and well written biography by a novelist and poet. The author, Robert Morgan became interested in Boone when he wanted to write a poem about the intersection of Amerindian and Colonial American cultures.

Boone, raised a Quaker, sought to befriend Amerindians all of his life. The book gave me an awareness of the manipulations of the Amerindians, both by the French and the British, to make war with the settlers, first in the French and Indian War and then...more
Texbritreader
A comprehensive and insightful biography of arguably the most important pioneer in US history and one of our best remembered folk heroes. Morgan does quite a good job with the history and lets his literary roots show with his analysis of the influence of Boone's legend on American letters; from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau to Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.

I had one minor quibble with the book. Morgan repeatedly references the fact that as Boone migrated west he often did so in...more
Sue
Well, living on the banks of the Ohio River now, and making work forays into Kentucky, I just had to read this book about Daniel Boone. This was a fascinating biography, and provided lots of history about the Shawnee people, and early European migrations into the Kentuck area. I'm sure this was covered in my schooling, but I truly didn't realize that long before the Revolutionary War was over Europeans had streamed into Kentucky already and were settling here. Really pissed off the Native Americ...more
Charles Charlesworth
Man what a guy and also what a disturbed guy. His ADS and inability to live just a normal life cause not him to suffer but his entire family. He got most of his children killed off by the indians but he had to keep moving further and further out into the unknown which unfortunately for his family was hostile Indian country. Still I have to admire someone who started in Berks County and Schuylkill County (his father had a saw mill near Pottsville) I was lucky enough to see it during a drought whe...more
Jeff
This biography of Daniel Boone is beautifully written, although with a good number of "repeats" of words or entire sentences a page or two after they first appear. It is almost like the author had a list of points or facts to include and forgot that he had just written the same thing. A little odd, but nevertheless, 99% of the time the prose flows wonderfully. Morgan is primarily a fiction writer, and there is much discussion of how Daniel Boone's character and influence appears in nineteenth ce...more
Dan Gobble
This well written retelling of the Daniel Boone story helped me move beyond the image created by the TV series. What a complex man. On one hand, he keeps moving his family further west to be on the edge of the wilderness, but on the other hand, his trailblazing exploits allow a flood of pioneers to follow, which ultimately leads to the destruction of the very elements of nature he sought to find. On one hand he loves hunting big game, but on the other hand, he is part of an uncontrolled force wh...more
Skipr
Those were some tough folks back in the day. The hardships that Boone, his family, and most of the people on the frontier endured year after year would leave most of us hurrying back to the nearest big city after a week or two. I knew Boone was a great man, but this book taught me a number of other things about DB that I didn't know - for example, how we spent much of his life in debt, and embroiled in land disputes - and that many of his contemporaries on the frontier were plagued with the same...more
Derailed
Definitly a book that I feel could of been a lot shorter and it still felt like it left much of Boone's life a mystery. The book also embraced the idea of the noble savage and the defamation of all of early white american culture.
Jeff Elliott
There is no more important milestone in a man's life than the death of his father. The death of a father may bring its own cloud of grief or regret, a sense of unfinished business, of question that will forever go unanswered. A son feels alone in a particular way when his father dies. Suddenly he is on his own, and there may be a new sense of freedom, that whatever has to be done is now up to him. The rest of life opens before the son, and there is no one he has to answer to but himself and the...more
Ann
This is a sweeping, comprehensive, sympathetic, and very readable portrait of Daniel Boone. Boone's life of 86 years spans the formative years of this nation. (He was two years younger than George Washington.) Although I have always associated him with Kentucky, he lived in Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, as well as moving ever westward...to Missouri and in fact as far as the Yellowstone River. As Morgan says, "The story of Boone is the story of America. From the Blue Ridge to...more
Elaine
I really enjoyed this biography of Daniel Boone. With thorough research, the author does a great job of separating myths and facts surrounding Boone's life. The author describes the incredible hardships that the settlers had to endure and reminds us 21st century people that 18th century living was extremely difficult. He also gives a LOT of credit to the strong women who followed their husbands into the wilderness and the incredible strength and courage it took for them to survive multiple child...more
Gloria
Apr 24, 2008 Gloria rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History Enthusiasts
Recommended to Gloria by: BookPage
Shelves: history
Because Daniel Boone's story is known so well, at least in a general way, I was curious as to what the "real" story about his life was about.

As perhaps is predictable, truth is quite different than the fiction surrounding his life. This version demystifies the legends and instead portrays him as he probably was in real life. Family man, nature lover, generally spiritual though not a church goer, adventurer, poor businessman, semi-literate. Boone lived during the time of the American Revolution...more
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Robert Morgan was raised on his family's farm in the North Carolina mountains. The author of eleven books of poetry and eight books of fiction, including the bestselling novel Gap Creek, he now lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches at Cornell University.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
More about Robert Morgan...
Gap Creek The Truest Pleasure This Rock The Road from Gap Creek: A Novel Brave Enemies: A Novel of the American Revolution

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