Thursday, April 15, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America's First Frontier by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

 I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review. 

Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America’s First Frontier
by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin is an interesting but unsettling read. The book uses the timeline of Daniel Boone’s life as the scaffold for the history of white settlers displacing Native Americans in the near-west frontier, the lands west of the Appalachians and east of the Mississippi.

The book is, in part, a biography of Daniel Boone. It gives some of his family history as background and follows him until his death. It also retells some of the more famous anecdotes of his life. But it’s not an in-depth biography of the man. It focuses more on the larger history of that “first frontier.” It incorporates the American Revolution, but only as it impacts the western theater. It is primarily a history of the continual, brutal warfare between the settlers and the original occupants of the land.

It is well-researched and reads quickly. Boone is an impressively brave character, but this is no psychological study and I can’t help but think his good points were played up and his bad points ignored. For example, I would have hated to be his wife.

The history is interesting and important, and it’s not something I ever learned in any detail, so I was glad to fill in some of those gaps. My knowledge of Daniel Boone was sketchy and I always envisioned him as more mythical than real. The narrative recounted here is all too real. While the authors attempted a balanced portrayal, there is no avoiding the ickiness of the subject matter. 

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