Lisa's Reviews > Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, the American Story

Johnny Appleseed by Howard Means
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's review
Jul 05, 2011

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Read in July, 2011

I grew up in western Pennsylvania and lived in the Greensburg area. Every apple tree found in the middle of the woods was suspected to be a Johnny Appleseed tree! I now live at the other end of the state and rarely come upon an apple tree in the woods. So I felt that I just really had to read this book to find out the truth. Turns out the apple trees in my childhood were not Johnny Appleseed products, but may have hailed from the same seed stock that he used as they were almost always sour crabapples. At least that was right. This was a well-researched book and I enjoyed the historical aspect of it tracing John Chapman's early life, possible routes he may have taken to Ohio, life in the Ohio Valley, his financial transactions and exchanges with other settlers. It would have been interesting if there had been medical research or analysis of whether John Chapman may have had a mental disorder. The author glosses over any real consideration that he may have been mentally disturbed although that opinion is found even before the Johnny Appleseed legend became such a phenomenon. The last two chapters just kind of dragged on with the analysis of how he went on to became a myth (Disney)and what relevance that has to us today. The maps were wonderful at putting the events into a geographical context. The illustrations did not enhance the book in any way -- nepotism isn't always a good idea.

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