THE VIOLENT YEARS: Simon Kenton by Patricia Jahns


Email this review


Subtitled Simon Kenton and the Ohio-Kentucky Frontier, this book by the author of The Frontier World of Doc Holliday, etc., combines a somewhat fictionized biography of Kenton, the original of Cooper's ""Leatherstocking"", with an account of American frontier life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Like his contemporary, Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton helped form the common conception of a ""typical"" frontiersman. Born in Virginia in 1755, resisting work and formal education but loving fighting, hunting, and women, Kenton took to the deep woods after a fight in which he ved, mistakenly, he had killed a man. Caught in the Indian wars of the Revolution, he knew Boone, fought Indians with George Rogers Clark, and took part in the raid on Kaskaskia in 1778. Twice captured and tortured by Indians, he escaped to Kentucky, to found ""Kenton's Station"" and organize ""Kenton's Boys"", with whom he fought more Indians, for the end of the Revolution had not ended the bloody massacres which fill this book. Kenton, a handsome man endowed by the author with ""a strangely sweet curve to his eyebrows"". was twice married and the father of many children; he died in Ohio in 1836, still unable to read. Containing much fine historical material but bristling with cliches and fictional private thoughts, this book is one for amateur historians and writers of frontier fiction rather than for seasoned students -- who will, however, value it for its comprehensive bibliography.

Publisher: Hastings House