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The great six-foot-five frame of Simon Kenton and his eighty-one years of life characterize and contain this epic-proportioned narrative of the confrontation of whites and Indians along the Ohio from pre-Revolutionary days to the death of Tecumseh in 1813, which marked the end of Indian resistance. Kentucky settler, Indian fighter, woodsman, patriot, Kenton epitomized the frontiersmen. But his figure is one of many in this book; historic figures--Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, Anthony Wayne, William Henry Harrison--are here, along with scores of lesser knowns and Indian greats. Allan Eckert writes a pragmatic prose, whether in description or in the reconstructed dialogue ""very closely traced"" which furthers the immediacy of his story. Not since Drums along the Mohawk has the precarious life of the frontier been so clearly revealed. The best of the book is given over to bloodshed and war--invasion, retaliation--the minor forays and incursions, the major campaigns. Violence is close enough to smell; atrocities and torture deaths recorded with graphic indelibility. The intimacy of war is here too: recognition scenes on the field of battle are rampant... Parallel to the frontiersmen's story is that of the great Shawnee leader Tecumseh, who tried to save the Indians by unifying the tribes and went knowingly to his death in battle when he realized his mission was futile. An era in the life of the nascent nation is limned with honesty and vigor, a sense of honor and of violence that should find this big book widely read and remembered.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1967
Publisher: Little, Brown