NATHAN BOONE AND THE AMERICAN FRONTIER by R. Douglas Hurt

NATHAN BOONE AND THE AMERICAN FRONTIER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A by-the-numbers biography of a minor figure in the history of the American West. Nathan Boone (17811856) lived his life in the shadow of his father, Daniel. According to Hurt (Agricultural History and Rural Studies/Iowa State Univ.), that shadow was long, indeed, but Boone apparently did not hanker for fame. He battled Indians on the Missouri frontier, kept slaves, raised a few crops--lived, in short, a fairly ordinary life for his times. Accidents of history did find him at a few crossroads; he was of incidental help, for one thing, to Lewis and Clark as they made their way across the territory of the Osage Indians (for which service, Hurt is careful to note, he was paid $46.50), and he fought well in several engagements in the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War. Later, Boone served as a career soldier, spending most of his service in Iowa and the Indian Territory. Hurt's recitation of the facts of Boone's life is efficient but dry; his deepest interests seem to lie in such matters as the economics of salt production and the effects of the Treaty of Ghent on US-Indian relations on the frontier, and he treats these matters carefully and with dispassion. Hurt doesn't make undue claims for the importance of his subject. But neither does he do much to make him especially interesting, and Nathan Boone remains little more than a hard-working soldier with a famous father, exhibiting the virtues and vices of his time. The result is a book of only modest interest to students of frontier and US military history. (20 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8262-1159-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Univ. of Missouri
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1998




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