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Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  497 ratings  ·  55 reviews
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, while illuminating the American hero-making process itself. Drawing from popular narrative, the public record, scraps of documentation from Boone's own hand, and a treasure trove of reminiscences gathered b ...more
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Published July 1st 1993 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1992)
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Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's so much good historical biography out there, and it seems to always be getting better. John Mack Faragher's "Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer" is a perfect example. This first paperback edition actually dates to 1993, but the professor of American History at Yale has written a book which will prove invaluable to historians and casual history readers for a long time.

Daniel Boone's life represents different values to different people. One of the most important serv
Sherwood Smith
The thing I really love about modern scholarship is not just that the women get their voices heard, but ordinary people. Also, older biographies tended to either be stiff reports of facts without any motivation, hagiographies, or else salacious delvings into sexual antics. The sex lives of powerful people (I think anyway) are only interesting in not whether they "did it " or not, but why, and how their passions influenced their actions.

So, to bring this ramble to Daniel Boone, I never cared whet
Sherry Chandler
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
In this highly readable book, Faragher undertakes to separate the life from the legend of Daniel Boone. His goal is not to be a an iconoclast but to understand why it is that the legends have persisted.
Robert Downes
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is as much about Daniel Boone's times as it is about the pioneer, who managed to become something of a pop star in his own time, even though he lived in what was then the wilds of Kentucky. While still a fairly young man, he was discovered by a popular novelist who wrote dozens of cheap, bestselling books about his real and imagined exploits, spreading his fame as far away as Europe.
Boone often lived and dressed as an Indian and was happiest when he was roaming far from civilization
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Boone was a man, yes a big man-No, he wasn't. He only stood about 5' 8'' which was average height for that time.
From the coonskin cap on the top of old Dan-"Only a fool would wear a fur cap lest it was winter" And when did wear one it was a beaver hat. Most of the year he wore a leather hat with a wide brim.

The rippinest roarest fightest man, he frontier ever knew- Actually he was known as a sober man especially for a frontiersman.

Lots of info about his finnancial dealings and the hard ch
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A superior example of a biography that tells a fascinating story while remaining faithful to the facts of a life. Before reading this book I thought I knew about Boone (maybe too much from the old Fess Parker series). As it turned out, there was much I didn't. For instance, I assumed Boone was mostly illiterate but he was quite literate for his place and time. His exploits with native tribes, in particular the fluid nature of being a captive, was more gripping than most fictional accounts of it. ...more
Bill Hooten
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fess Parker, and these words "Daniel Boone was a man. Yes a big man. With an eye like an eagle and as tall as a mountain was he. Daniel Boone was a man. Yes a big man. He was brave, he was fearless and as tough as might oak tree. From the coonskin cap on the top of ol Dan to heel of his rawhide shoe, The rippin'est roarin'est, fightin'ist man the frontier ever knew. Daniel Boone was a man. Yes a big man. And he fought for America to make all Americans free." -- seem to be description that most p ...more
Amy Softa
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Recently I've been working on my family tree and it has always been said we were related to Daniel Boone. After some digging, sure enough, I am descended from his uncle George Boone IV. Since not a lot of books were written about my branch of the tree I decided to read something about Daniel in hopes of learning more about my ancestors.

This was an interesting book and I quite enjoyed listening to Daniel's story. I have come to realize much about the people I come from, some good, some negative.
Al Lock
This is an extraordinary biography of Daniel Boone, and may be the most balanced view of Boone available, but as a readable book, this book has a lot of problems.

1. The Chapters are simply way too long. The author ignores clear points where it would be easy to end a chapter and start a new one and just continues.

2. It skips around. Going from "the last action of the War of 1812" to 1813 is not conducive to people getting a sense of what was happening with Boone. The book has way too much "stre
Deborah Hendrickson
Great for Boone enthusiasts who enjoy lots of detail about everything to do with him. It's a slow, plodding tome for the more casual reader (like me). I checked this out from the library as an audiobook for a road trip through Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Daniel Boone country! I thought it would be the perfect narrative for the rolling countryside. There were interesting facts and stories ... but there is also a mind-numbing amount of detail about tangential figures and places in ...more
Joshua Horn
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting account of Boone's life. The author does a good job at dividing myth from fact, and seeing what even the myth has to say about the frontier and how Boone was preceived at the time.

The story of Boone's life is, of course, a great tale of adventures. I found particularly interesting the relationships between Indians and settlers that the book talked about. Neither community was that large. Often if an Indian came to kill or capture you, you often knew them or their relatives persona
Michael Parisi
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
An extremely informative and enjoyable read. The biographer does a tremendous job in presenting Daniel Boone, both the historical figure and the legend embodied in folklore. Both aspects contribute to Daniel Boone’s legacy, and Faragher does a tremendous job to illustrate Boone’s story utilizing both perspectives as a whole. Some parts read as a history textbook, while other parts read as an adventure novel. I learned so much about Boone, the underscored American frontiersman, and I enjoyed the ...more
Jim Fulner
Feb 20, 2020 rated it liked it
The author here tries really hard. Before I got this audio book I struggled with just what he said many Americans in the mid 20th century did, not knowing the difference between Daniel Boone and Davey Crocket. This was true of me, and I never knew there was a Daniel Boone show, let alone that he was played by the same actor who played Crocket. returnreturnDaniel Boone's story is steeped in legend and this helps separate the real man from the legend, to the point its boring at points. He's just a ...more
Joe O'Connor
Good; a mostly disappointing review of the life of frontiersman Daniel Boone; while working to discredit the fanciful and creation of a legend works preceding this, the author takes most of the life out of the character, relishing in quoting his backwoods English and making him into the everyman; something "in between" these two extremes would have been more of a credit to the man who helped lead the expansion of America to the west
James Edwards
An incredible life filled with intense highs & lows, seeped in legend yet grounded in the truth of the times. Boone was a man full of contradictions that might seem frustrating until you discover the real human being that inspired the stories of lore. He lived a complex life that always circled back to the simple pursuit of living with nature among family. ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, factual account of the tough, pioneering life of the man of folklore.
A man more comfortable away from civilization and the inspiration of Leatherstockings -- James Fenimore Cooper's tales that include the Last of the Mohicans.

More a book about the difficulties of frontier life and a man shaped by the same.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful biography of an American icon. The author does a wonderful job of sorting fact from legend.

I am extremely pleased that I chose this particular biography since my purpose was to get an honest picture of not only Boone, but of others who made the same progress from East to West.

It is a good mix of scholarly information and information for the casual history enthusiast.
Ginette Seare
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know that everyone would like this book, but it was fascinating to me. It's hard to imagine what people on the frontier went through, so that's why stories like this build out the picture well.
Amy Sturgis
I would give this a 3.5 rating if I could.

I wanted to read one of *the* biographies of Daniel Boone. While it is repetitive and at times defiant of linear narrative structure, this book does a solid job of discussing both the man and the legend, while trying to untangle one from the other.
Chad A. Pentecost
A complicated man

Daniel Boone is an American legend with a legacy for the ages. This book covers the good the bad and the ugly. My family recently visited the “Daniel Boone Home” in Missouri. I highly recommend this book at that historic site.
Stephen D. Regan
Excellent Biography

JMF writes an excellent and very readable bio worthy of your time. I find JMF's Boone a simple, honest man of nature. Quiet and a bit of a loner, Boone can still be found in the rural areas of the Great Rivers.
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent history of Daniel Boone and more importantly a history of our expansion into the early West across the Appalachian Mountains and into the lush interior of the Ohio and Kentucky watershed. Clear and eloquent language paints this period with a large brush.
I enjoyed this book. Daniel Boone was an incredible man and difficult to capture as so many historical figures are. Especially those who've inspired so much lore.
Bob McClaren
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Moving, compelling, filled with adventure. The real Boone, one great fellow.
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bob's Review

Enjoyed this book immensely. Really appreciated the detail in separating facts from false historical information about Daniel Boone's very interesting life.
Michael Walker
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
An outstanding treatment of the legendary American pioneer!
Justin Tapp
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Boone: The Life of an American Legend and Pioneer by John Mack Faragher. I started this audio book when we were in the U.S. traveling up and down I-75 through Kentucky. It's fun to hear an historic place mentioned in a book and look up and see that the same place is at the next interstate exit. This book taught me a lot about the history of Kentucky, and frontier life in general. As my own family's migration to Kentucky in the 1800s was somewhat tied to the trailblazing work of people lik ...more
Tony Laplume
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A remarkably conceived synthesis and debunking of Daniel Boone lore, Faragher ultimately opens the book so wide it's kind of disappointing.

I've read my share of biographies over the years, including portraits of illusive historical figures where the record can't definitely conclude what's true and what's merely legend. John Mack Faragher has obviously done considerable research, both in previous attempts at a Boone biography, and into the folklore and into the lives of Boone's biographers themse
Vali Benson
An enjoyable read from my favorite period in history. Boone was truly an American icon and his real life exploits are richer than any super hero. Easy to follow and tons of info!
Susan Webb
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From a review I wrote for a class I'm taking on American Frontiers: Historian John Mack Faragher pieces together Boone’s life as an emblem of the complex and still controversial history of America’s frontier past. Boone’s role in that history is ambiguous and conflicted, the author suggests, paralleling the ambiguity and contested nature of the history itself. Written in 1992, this is a complex story that is relevant today as the meaning of “America” continues to be debated. He tells a good stor ...more
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