Top positive review
An Admirable Portrait
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 12, 2013
Separating fact from fiction in writing a biography of an iconic figure like Boone is a major challenge and Morgan is to be commended for this effort. It's unfortunate the several efforts Boone made to leave a personal account of his life were lost due to accidents and misadventures and later biographers were forced to rely on written records that may have been biased or based on hearsay.
Morgan's research clears up many of the false assertions about Boone and gives us a closer look at the real man. His is not a blatant example of hero worship--he gives us the good and the bad about the man. There is the honest, considerate and loving family man; the lover of the wild who would inspire Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman; the soldier, who never unnecessarily took a life. There's the careless businessman, mired in debt and failing over and over again. There's also the irony of the hunter who shot game with no thought for tomorrow and the lover of wilderness who led others who would destroy the solitude and beauty he cherished.
Boone obviously admired the Indian and their way of life, to the extent he was accused of treason and was able to overlook the murder of family and friends and the captivity of his favorite daughter and himself. Yet he was as culpable as others in the destruction of their society.
Morgan gives the impression the Quaker Boones and their neighbors had no problems with the Native Americans while living in Pennsylvania. Though the Quakers and Moravians did enjoy peaceful relations with the native peoples for long periods of time, tensions were increasing before the Boones left Oley Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Land sales the Penns and their representatives negotiated with the Iroquois as early as the 1730s riled the Lenape/Delaware who claimed the same territory and influenced them to side with the French later in the strife known as the French and Indian War. Thanks to Conrad Weiser, a diplomat and interpreter, a peace was brokered in 1737 between the Iroquois and southern tribes, averting violence certain to have spilled over into Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Morgan refers to Logan who, seeking revenge for the murder of his family, helped spark the 1774 Dunmore's War, as a Mingo. In fact, Logan (Tachnechdorus) was a son of Shikellamy, the Iroquois vice regent at Shamokin PA. Mingo is a corruption of the Lenape term "minqua," which can be interpreted as "treacherous."
Aside from these minor quibbles, I'd say Morgan has done a wonderful job in presenting a Boone who truly deserves the fame society has granted him.