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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 10/2020
  • 978-1735492223
  • 232 pages
  • $17.95
Hardcover Book Details
  • 10/2020
  • 9781735492209
  • 232 pages
  • $35.00
Boone: An Unfinished Portrait

Adult; History & Military; (Market)

A wild biography of Daniel Boone through a sensative and rich examination of his wilderness, the Early American West. We know the name, but do we know the man? Was Daniel Boone a woodsman-philosopher or American Patriot? Boone was and is still today a convenient symbol, employed by anyone who thinks they are an American. But what if he wasn't an American? And what if he doesn't want our employment? In this sensitive and philosophical work, we dive into the rich mythology of American literature, poetry, and history alongside Indigenous mythology and wisdom to find the man of Daniel Boone. From Whitman to Emerson, Muir to Turner, we peel back Daniel's forest - gently of course, for leaves are fragile and we don't want to disturb that beaver to your left as he creates an ecologically-rich wetland - and attempt to see him as he saw himself. Perhaps, in the naivety and purity of this place, we may also learn something about ourselves. History is the art of trying to know better and this book is written for those who are ready for the task-to peel back the woods of our very white mythology and discover a story that we may not be entirely comfortable with. The lesson of this story is not progress, but pain, not empire, but empathy. It is the story of just a man.
Reviews
Daniel Boone lives large in the American folk hero imagination. Though modernity remembers him as a coonskin-cap-wearing pioneer, Griffith skillfully expands readers’ picture of this quasimythological figure to provide a more complete understanding of Boone the politician, businessman, soldier, and frontiersman. Boone: An Unfinished Portrait blends history and biography with elements of an ecological manifesto. Its eight chapters delve into what Griffith calls “white culture’s two Boones,” or the competing popular depictions of Boone as a civilization-expanding pioneer and a nature conservationist.

Readers shouldn’t expect dry historical prose, however. Griffith writes with an ear for style as well as substance, though some of his turns of phrase can distract from, rather than enhance, the reading experience. Where the book shines, however, is as expansionist history. Griffith approaches Boone’s life and legacy through an ecological lens; as part of his biographical project, Griffith continually reminds the reader of the long history of Indigenous life in and cultivation of what is today the United States. Griffith warns that the true story of Boone might be uncomfortable for readers, but details like these bring his audience closer to the political and cultural reality of Boone’s time.

Fans of United States history, folklore, and its tradition of ecological conservation will love Griffith’s reflections on the connection between civilization and the natural world. As its title indicates, this biography is not meant to be the final word on Daniel Boone’s life and legacy. However, Griffith’s careful research and extensive, balanced consideration of Boone’s life and works make this volume an essential read for anyone interested in the folk hero.

Takeaway: Fascinating, balanced, and well-researched, this nature-centered biography is sure to entertain and inform.

Great for fans of: Howard Means's Johnny Appleseed. The Man, the Myth, the American Story; April R. Summit's Sacagawea: A Biography.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A-

Daniela Ibarra-Howell, Cheif Executive Officer & Co-Founder of the Savory Instit

"An arresting, raw, and sensitive account of a remarkable man and an extraordinary life. Told with the robust accuracy of a researcher and the engaging style of a poet, Griffith triumphantly evokes the love and yearning for wilderness buried deep inside the reader."

Dr. Dan Monroe, Professor of History at Millikin University and the author of Th

"A superb study that clears away the fog and mythology of Boone as the pathfinder for civilization, as a settler of virgin territory. At home not in established farmsteads but in endless wilderness tracts, Daniel Firth Griffith's Boone was at heart a storyteller in action of unquenchable wanderlust, always drawn to the next hillside and to the Edenic land beyond. For Boone, the wilderness was home, the journey to the wilderness the true destination. Griffith's use of antebellum sources is deft, offering insightful period context."

Dr. Scott Yenor, Professor of Political Science at Boise State, Senior Fellow at

"Who was Daniel Boone and why does it matter? Daniel Griffith's sensitive biography of Boone shows him to be a simple man and a political man- reluctantly serving the political community in war and peace, while longing to observe, learn and hunt in the untouched wilderness. These worlds temporarily met on the American frontier, through the conflict with the native tribes who simply occupied that land. Boone was a spearhead for European conquest, though that desire was far from his peaceful heart or intention. Griffith's accomplishment is to provide a serious philosophical reflection on this complex American folk hero, who admired the peoples his displaced."

Jim Howell, CEO of Grasslands, LLC, and author of For the Love of Land-Global Ca

"For those of us who love and live for wild places, Griffith's account of the life of Daniel Boone elicits both joy and heartache. We are tantalized by images of pristine natural abundance, yet simultaneously dejected as we realize what we've lost. But, we are left inspired-to live lives of integrity, as did Boone-always fair, generous, and faithful to his friends and family, but also to his own passions and compulsions. And, we are left compelled to work toward healing and regenerating this lost Eden-to becoming new natives that build back, rather than extractive pioneers."

Kip Henderson

"Boone: an Unfinished Portrait surpasses the biography genre’s standard of simply being informative and lands squarely in “edifying.”Griffith carefully and lovingly works his way through the narrow mountain pass of exhorting and honoring the wanderlust heartiness of the pioneers, while still removing any trace of doubt in the reader’s mind of the tragedy of the conquest and displacement of the highly civilized Native people. Griffith puts aside the American legend that has sprung up around the character of Boone. In its place, he unveils a man whose home was far less American as much as it was alone within the woods. Griffith, in his admirable insistence on following the facts, is as keen to expose the true soul of the reader as he is to understand the man Daniel Boone. In the book’s search for discovering where one man’s soul resided, we’re also gifted with a picture of the contemplative life— one of deep connection with nature, a contentment with solitude, an appetite for adventure, and a respect for all peoples. The book invites the reader to lament— the pain of the Native, the tragedy of the consequences of Boone’s way finding, the loss of Man’s intimacy with nature and with the hunt. This lament is not condemning, oppressive, or hopeless. It is beautiful and tragic, and a tale worth telling and worth carrying forward in time with us."

Leo Dillon

“Griffith dispenses with the trite mythology of Boone’s legend to explore the philosophical underpinnings of the man and his tumultuous, transitional era. The ironies of the life of the frontier woodsman, his joys and tragedies, his accomplishments and setbacks, are deftly examined in this ‘unfinished’ portrait.”

Tom Maj

“Daniel Firth Griffith takes the reader through pages of classical antiquity, anthropology, political and economic history, theology, agriculture, geography, American and European literature in search of Daniel Boone. We walk with Boone through the flora and fauna of the new world at its founding period. The author makes Boone’s life and the period alive and vivid widening the aperture on the human condition. An important read and reminder that history isn’t defined by one person, one act, one event, but daily interaction with others, our times, our environment over a lifetime.”

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 10/2020
  • 978-1735492223
  • 232 pages
  • $17.95
Hardcover Book Details
  • 10/2020
  • 9781735492209
  • 232 pages
  • $35.00

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