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The Frontiersmen: A Narrative

(Winning of America #1)

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  3,152 ratings  ·  292 reviews
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 recreated 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 eighteenth birth ...more
Paperback, 626 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Jesse Stuart Foundation (first published June 1st 1967)
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“The ugly image of Chief Logan's pregnant sister, who had been shot, hung by her wrists and her belly slit open, had not been forgotten. [Jacob] Greathouse and his wife had been tethered each to a different sapling with a loop running from neck to tree. Their bellies had been opened just above the pubic hairs and a loose end of the entrails tied to the sapling. They had then either been dragged or prodded around so that their intestines had been pulled out of their bodies to wind around the tree ...more
Jim Cooper
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jim by: Matt
This is Allan Eckert's first book in his series "The Winning of America." It's the story of how Indian territory in the frontiers of the 1700s became the areas we now know as Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. It's told through the eyes of it's two main characters - Simon Kenton (who I somehow knew nothing about before this book) on the side of the frontiersmen, and Tecumseh on the side of the Native Americans.

I've read a lot of late 18th/early 19th century history, but this was my first time seeing t
L. McCoy
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in history and don't mind a long, extremely violent book.
Recommended to L. by: Grampy
Take that, short attention span! It might have taken over a year but I did it! It didn’t take over a year because it was boring (I don’t give boring books 4 stars) but because it’s the first prose book I started reading for pleasure in years (though I have read some other, shorter ones since as I discovered that I actually like a lot of prose even if I thought I didn’t for some reason), it has very small text and is long. Alright, let’s go!

What’s it about?
This book is a nonfiction story about a
Dec 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
David Eppenstein
One of my favorite areas of history is that of the founding of our country, it's earliest roots, it's struggle with British rule, our Revolution, and then the creation of our government and it's struggle to succeed. During my reading of that history of the nation's early years mention is made of the people in the Western area of the new nation. By Western area what was meant was the land between the Mississippi River the mountains of the East. From this area problems arose for the leaders of the ...more
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, history
Even in the realm of narrative history, this is fairly unique. The Frontiersmen reads much like a novel, but it is as historically sourced as possible (and contains a fair number of endnotes, though more for explaining context rather than giving sources). Because of the format, Eckert is at pains to describe how he put his book together in a foreword.

And it works. It did take some getting used to, as my history-reading and novel-reading instincts clashed for a bit. The book presents much of the
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
Ó Ruairc
Dec 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Great Book. Like Louis L'Amour, if Allan Eckert says it was there, it was there. :0)
Great story on the Life of Simon Butler Kenton!
Good History of the settlement of Kentucky and Ohio.
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ellis Morning
Aug 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
The writing style put me off immediately (the phrase “placental ejection” occurs in the first paragraph, and later a “deadly rain of blows” leaves our protagonist “groggy”). Still, I decided to stick with it for historical value. After all, Eckert promises that everything in here is authentic. But when I got to the story of Marmaduke van Swearingen, a white boy adopted by the Shawnee who later became the great war chief Blue Jacket, alarm bells went off in my head. Sure enough, a little digging ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Bob Mayer
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All of Eckert's books are classics. When the frontier was in the eastern United States. His books give us history, up close and personal.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars
John Carey
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A telling of the white man settling the Ohio River valley and the Native American response, mostly through severely underrated historical figures, Simon Kenton and Tecumseh. Though ultimately a narrative, the author claims every line of dialouge was taken from a historical source which was mind boggling and at times borderline impossible to believe. While time and research has nitpicked the book for inaccuracies here and there, I'm not sure he could have written a more well researched book when ...more
Ryan Deer
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Eckert’s extensively researched narrative non-fiction is a triumph. Not only was its level of detail, knowledge, and interpretation deep but its storyline and dialogue captivating.

Personally, being born and raised in Pittsburgh, reading about the settling of the frontier in my area was fascinating, and I was constantly looking up modern names for the original settlements.

I did find reading about the true history of the Native American genocide disheartening, as the main character of the book wa
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
The author did a fantastic job employing narrative to detail the history of the Northwest Territory. This book did justice to both the early American frontiersmen and the Native Americans by accurately surveying both their heroic acts of bravery and their shameful acts of cowardice. It was fascinating to read about the people and events that so greatly impacted the development of the state of Ohio. If you are from the area and are at all interested in local history, this book is a must-read.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alan Eckerts book The Frontiersmen is a story about the taming of West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana,Michigan, Kentucky and Illinois. This story focuses mostly on Simon Kenton who was a brave woodsman,fighter and scout. At a very young age he was forced to leave his family and forge a life of his own. He fought alongside Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, William Harrison and many more of our early settlers. Also featured is the great warrior chief of the Shawnees, Tecumseh , who was able to assemble ...more
Jeffrey McDowell
One of the most informative and gripping accounts I've read. It focuses on the struggles of early westward expansion from the mid- to late-1700s to the time of the early 1800s. It gives readers viewpoints from the two pivotal characters in the book: Simon Kenton & Tecumseh. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in American history. ...more
Faith Justice
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
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
Chris Hamilton
A lovingly crafted tale that surrounds the history and lives of frontiersman Simon Kenton and the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh. What I was blown away by were the painstaking details Allan Eckert put into this book making sure nothing that was not documented contradicted with the history. I did not really know anything about either person and came away with a great respect for both. This book humbled me in my trivial trials compared to the days of the frontier. I listened to the audio version of the bo ...more
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
While presented as historical genre, the authors embellishments establish a tone for the events that may or may not have been present and are not supported by the chapter references. This can not help but skew the accuracy of the events depicted.

While acknowledging this early in the author's notes, his example of degree of the embellishments is not accurate. There are 17 pages of end notes for 588 pages of narrative. Clearly there is enormous degree of embellishment without basis in historical
Aug 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Derek Gilbert
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rich Hoffman
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books about the beginning of America ever written. Its a wonderful book that should be read by every single student in the 8th grade. And if any adult has reached an age beyond 18 and not read this book they need to stop whatever they are doing, and read this book.
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
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American Historic...: The Frontiersmen is blowing my mind! 6 74 Oct 22, 2012 02:11PM  

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Allan W. Eckert was an American historian, historical novelist, and naturalist.

Eckert was born in Buffalo, New York, and raised in the Chicago, Illinois area, but had been a long-time resident of Bellefontaine, Ohio, near where he attended college. As a young man, he hitch-hiked around the United States, living off the land and learning about wildlife. He began writing about nature and American hi

Other books in the series

Winning of America (6 books)
  • Wilderness Empire (Winning of America)
  • The Conquerors: A Narrative
  • The Wilderness War
  • Gateway to Empire
  • Twilight of Empire

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