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David Crockett: The Lion of the West Paperback – April 23, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Highly entertaining.” (Kate Tuttle - Boston Globe)

“Splendid . . . a readable and surprising biography.” (Allen Barra - Star Tribune)

“Read like fiction . . . enhanced by flowing prose in portraying a flawed but fascinating frontiersman.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Wallis understands the intriguing and mysterious element of American life and history.” (Stanley Crouch - New York Daily News)

About the Author

Michael Wallis is the best-selling author of Route 66, Billy the Kid, Pretty Boy, and David Crockett. He hosts the PBS series American Roads. He voiced The Sheriff in the animated Pixar feature Cars. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (April 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780393342277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393342277
  • ASIN: 0393342271
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #914,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

It has been said, "reading a Michael Wallis book is like dancing to a romantic ballad. He offers his hand and gently guides you across the floor, swaying to the song of the American West."

A best-selling author and award-winning reporter, Michael is a historian and biographer of the American West who also has gained international notoriety as a speaker and voice talent. In 2006 Michael's distinctive voice was heard in Cars, an animated feature film from Pixar Studios, also featuring Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Owen Wilson, Michael Keaton, and George Carlin. Michael is also featured in Cars 2, a sequel to the original motion picture released in 2011.

A storyteller who likes nothing better than transporting audiences across time and space, Michael has published seventeen books, including Route 66: The Mother Road, the book credited with sparking the resurgence of interest in the highway. In 2011, Michael's latest works were published -- David Crockett: The Lion of the West, and The Wild West 365.

Other Wallis books include The Real Wild West: The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West; Mankiller: A Chief and Her People; Way Down Yonder In The Indian Nation; and Pretty Boy: The Life and Times of Charles Arthur Floyd. His work has been published in hundreds of national and international magazines and newspapers, including Time, Life, People, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.

Michael has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize and was also a nominee for the National Book Award. He has won many other prestigious honors, such as the Will Rogers Spirit Award, the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall & Western Heritage Museum, the Oklahoma Book Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book, and the Best Western Non-fiction Award from the Western Writers of America.

For further information about Michael Wallis, visit http://www.michaelwallis.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Rob Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you are as old as I am, you may not be able to think of David Crockett without changing his name to the nickname Davy, and having done that, you cannot help hearing the theme song from his famous Disney television show, and reflecting how he was "born on a mountaintop in Tennessee" and "kilt him a b'ar when he was only three." Neither of those things actually happened, but nothing seemed impossible for the hero who, the song informed us in a subsequent verse, also "patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell." It wasn't just little boys in the fifties who adored Davy; it was the whole nation, and his fans had been building his legend even during his lifetime. In fact, he wrote in the autobiography that was his real claim to distinction that he could not understand all the fuss: "Go where I will, everybody seems anxious to get a peep at me... Therefore, there must be something in me, or about me, that attracts attention, which is even mysterious to myself." Looking seriously at the life and enjoying the legend is the point of _David Crockett: The Lion of the West_ (Norton) by Michael Wallis, who must be the only history writer who is also credited with being a cartoon voice (he speaks the Sheriff's part in _Cars_.) The seriousness does not get in the way; Crockett had an exciting life, and while he may not be as perfect a hero as the legends claim, this is a rollicking story, well told, with many quotations from Crockett's own writings.

Crockett was born in 1786, not in Tennessee but in part of North Carolina that was to become Tennessee. He ran away from home when he was thirteen and was gone three years. He worked for various countrymen, including a Quaker farmer who was to teach him to read and write.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By JunkyardWisdom on September 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I'm a babyboomer, so my understanding of Davy Crockett was picked up from the Disney show that made Fess Parker a star. This book respectfully corrects my perspectives without ever attacking the "image" of Davy Crockett. The American hero can remain a mythical all powerful man of the West in this book, but you get the truth instead of the make believe. Well done, Wallis, well done.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By SBruno on November 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have only made it about 60 pages in to the book so far. It has been a very engaging read, fast paced and informative.

However, I have to pay particular attention to character names to avoid confusing myself, often referencing back to previous pages. You can imagine my confusion when Wallis refers to David Crockett's mother as Elizabeth (pgs 45,47, 60). "There is a conspicuous absence of much mention at all of Elizabeth Crockett throughout her son's Narrative." The first time, okay, I can overlook that. But four times??

As another reviewer pointed out, he states that Patrick Henry signed the Declaration of Independence, which is false.

These simple errors are discouraging.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark Sutter on February 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My review of this book is similar to one I did recently of John Faragher's book on Daniel Boone. While reading the story of David Crockett it is easy to put yourself into the story and clearly visualize what frontier life was really like. You will see what the early american explorers endured to pave the way for the expansion that eventually led to the nation we have today. Crockett packed a lot into his relatively short life and is to be admired for all that he accomplished. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Divascribe VINE VOICE on December 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I grew up hearing tales about Davy Crockett and watching the TV series. Many of the little boys in my neighborhood proudly wore their coonskin caps. But the real life of Crockett is much more interesting -- and R-rated -- than what young baby boomers watched on TV. And though Crockett is best known for dying at the Alamo, only the last, relatively short, section of this book details his experiences in Texas.

David Crockett -- he didn't call himself Davy -- was a rough-hewn frontiersman who loved nothing more than hunting "bars" and other critters in the woods of Tennessee. He did that a lot, and he was good at it. He also fought in skirmishes against various American Indian tribes. He served under Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812 but didn't make it to the battle of New Orleans.

Life was tough on the frontier, and the people were as well. They survived extreme hardship that in many ways was worse for the women than the men, who could get their jollies drinking copious amounts of alcohol, hunting and, on occasion, fighting. Crockett struggled financially all his life, moving his growing family from one parcel of land to another as new sections of Tennessee opened up to settlers. Bad luck dogged him on many occasions, and he was frequently in debt.

Despite all of this, his self-confidence never wavered, and he wasn't ashamed of what he was. He became a populist hero and won three terms in Congress. And though he had been an accomplished Indian fighter, when in Congress he tried, unsuccessfully, to secure decent treatment for them. A hit play, "Lion of the West," was blatantly based on his life and legend, although the lead character went by a different name.
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