Thursday, July 28, 2011

Daniel Boone (1940)

Many thanks to our local children's librarian for help in obtaining a copy of this for me to read!

Daniel Boone.  One of the great legends of the settling of America.  His story is told here.  Filled with adventure, loyalty, love, patriotism, this book gives a taste of life in early America, and the people who sacrificed and worked to make the nation great.

The book begins with the Boone family in Pennsylvania.  They decide the country is filling up and move to North Carolina with their 11 children, Daniel being one of the 11.  When he was about 22 he joined an army going to fight the French and Indians.  George Washington, same age as Boone, was in the same group.  This campaign ended in disaster.

Boone married Rebecca Bryan.  She had to have been a remarkable woman.  The family moved several times, when one area would "fill up" they would move on to a new one.  When they moved to a new place, they had the work of building a fort and fending off Indian attacks as well as breaking ground and planting. 
Daniel often went on extended hunting and trapping trips, extended meaning a year or two, long.  He blazed the trail through the Cumberland Gap and led settlers into the beautiful Ohio Valley. 

Daniel Boone was a great man.  Unfortunately, this particular biography was not very fulfilling.  Dates, which I really like in a biography, were missing throughout.  So a timeline would have been nice. Another thing I didn't like about the book was the writing style.  Here is one example, which I actually like quite a bit, but when the whole book is written in this rather florid style, it gets a bit annoying.  "Boone's story was the story of a whole people.  It had all their griefs and tragedies and restless longings and rich half-fulfilled dreams, all their ranging freedom and mortal bondages.  It rang with the roaring laughter and boisterous fun; it was dark with the unfathomable silent anguishes by new-made graves; it was full of lost hopes and dreams of grandeur." (p. 52)  The author put this in the middle of the book, but it sounds like a great ending to me.  I think this would be a hard sell to get a child to read.

Daugherty, James.  Daniel Boone.  The Viking Press, 1939.

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