Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Frontiersmen - 100in1001

Ah, the first history book I've hit from the list, I am qualifying this as a local history book, although it could easily count as my US history. Depending on the other US/local book I choose to read I may reclassify this one.

The book itself is an easy read for the most part, and Eckert is able to make an interesting historical novel out of the historical facts. So much easier to read this narrative format over the more stale history textbook style. The story follow the frontiersmen (who else?) who came over the Appalachians to settle the Ohio and Kentucky territory (and then expanding further) and the Indians they came across. Simon Kenton is the main character and he, with Tecumseh, take up the majority of the narrative. All the other historical figures you would expect make appearances, as well as many, many others I did not know. The sheer amount of characters is sometimes hard to get your head around, especially since some will make a brief appearance and then show up tens or hundreds of pages later. In general, Eckert is good about reminding you who the character is if they are minor or make brief second appearances.

The story is quite fascinating, especially since I grew up and live in the region described, I've lived in Kenton county much of my life in fact. It actually ends up being a great story because at times you feel for the settlers, at others for the Indians, and, quite often, for neither since they both do horrendous things to each other.

I think this is really a must read for anyone interested in history, as it gives a lot of information on a very important time in American history that is often glossed over in history class.

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