Daniel Boone's name has been synonymous with the American frontier ever since a highly colored narrative of his exploits appeared in John Filson's Kentucke (1784)—when Boone was still alive. Here, Faragher (History/Mount Holyoke College) sorts through the public record, reminiscences by Boone's contemporaries and descendants, and surviving fragments in Boone's own hand to draw a convincing portrait of the man and his times. As his subtitle suggests, Faragher recognizes that the myth is as big as the man himself, and he devotes considerable energy to tracing its growth. While hardly a debunker, Faragher is quick to point out discrepancies between the legend and the historical record—for example, Boone's own claim that he killed no more than three men during his entire life strongly contradicts his posthumous reputation as an Indian fighter. The multiplicity of Boone relics as well is contrasted to the stark simplicity of the pioneer's actual life. Even the popular image of Boone in a coonskin cap is a latter-day embellishment: Boone actually preferred a Quaker-style beaver hat. Boone's lackadaisical career in politics, his shortcomings as a surveyor, and his failures in land speculation are set in the context of the anarchic early history of Kentucky. The genuine exploits get full coverage here: Boone's dramatic rescue of his daughter from raiding Shawnees; his own capture by Shawnee raiders and his subsequent escape; his role in the defense of Boonesborough in 1778; and his vigorous way of life even in his declining years. Among the surprises are such details as Boone's borrowing from Gulliver's Travels, his favorite book, for a tall tale. Ample quotations in original frontier spelling give Faragher's account extra authenticity. An intriguing study of a central figure in the American imagination. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 1992

ISBN: 0-8050-1603-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1992

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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