Boone: An Unfinished Portrait
A wild biography of Daniel Boone that seeks to define and examine the figurehead of the American Man through a rich inspection of the complex and problematic context of American frontier history.
Acclaimed Biographer and Emergent Conservationist Daniel Firth Griffith provides a wild and engaging portrait of a great American Icon, Daniel Boone. Delivered with the challenging nuance of a historian and the arresting style of a poet, Griffith's work seeks to reignite and engage the soul of American wildness. Boone: An Unfinished Portrait is a search party to find Daniel Boone, its journey is that of his story's canvas, and its purpose is to uncover a man to unfurl a hope built in reciprocity, connection, and understanding.
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"Fascinating, balanced, and well-researched, this nature-centered biography is sure to entertain and inform." - Publisher's Weekly.
"A tantalizing biography for those who love and live for wild places." - Jim Howell, author of For the Love of Land.
"Who was Daniel Boone and why does it matter? Daniel Griffith's sensitive biography of Boone shows him to be a simple man and a political man- reluctantly serving the political community in war and peace, while longing to observe, learn and hunt in the untouched wilderness. These worlds temporarily met on the American frontier, through the conflict with the native tribes who simply occupied that land. Boone was a spearhead for European conquest, though that desire was far from his peaceful heart or intention. Griffith's accomplishment is to provide a serious philosophical reflection on this complex American folk hero, who admired the peoples his displaced."
- Dr. Scott Yenor, Professor of Political Science at Boise State, Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute, and author of Family Politics: The Idea of Marriage in Modern Political Thought & The Recovery of Family Life: Exposing the Limits of Modern Ideologies (Baylor 2020).
"[Griffith's work] surpasses the biography genre's standard of simply being informative and lands squarely in "edifying." This book isn't just for Daniel Boone fanatics. It's a much-needed celebration of truth and virtue in a frantic world that could use a good story." - Kip Henderson.
"An arresting, raw, and sensitive account of a remarkable man and an extraordinary life [and] told with the robust accuracy of a researcher and the engaging style of a poet."- Daniela Ibarra-Howell, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of the Savory Institute.
"A superb study that clears away the fog and mythology of Boone as the pathfinder for civilization." - Dr. Dan Monroe, Professor of History at Millikin University and the author of The Republican Vision of John Tyler.
"Griffith dispenses with the trite mythology of Boone's legend to explore the philosophical underpinnings of the man and his tumultuous, transitional era." - Leo Dillon.
"Griffith makes Boone's life and the period alive and vivid widening the aperture on the human condition. An important read and reminder that history isn't defined by one person, one act, one event, but daily interaction with others, our times, our environment over a lifetime." - Tom Maj.
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We know the name, but do we know the man? Was Daniel Boone a woodsman-philosopher or American Patriot? Boone was and is still today a convenient symbol, employed by anyone who thinks they are an American. But what if he wasn't an American? And what if he doesn't want our employment?
In this sensitive and philosophical work, we dive into the rich mythology of American literature, poetry, and history alongside Indigenous mythology and wisdom to find the man of Daniel Boone. From Whitman to Emerson, Muir to Turner, we peel back Daniel's forest - gently of course, for leaves are fragile and we don't want to disturb that beaver to your left as he creates an ecologically-rich wetland - and attempt to see him as he saw himself. Perhaps, in the naivety and purity of this place, we may also learn something about ourselves.
If history is the art of trying to know better, then this book is written for those who are ready for the task-to unveil the woods of our mythology and discover a story that we may not be entirely comfortable with. The lesson of this story is not progress, but pain, not empire, but empathy. This is the story of just a man-a great man but a man nonetheless. Perhaps, that makes it the very best kind of American story.