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David Crockett in Congress: The Rise and Fall of the Poor Man's Friend Hardcover – November 1, 2009
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"James R. Boylston and Allen Wiener have done a masterful job of recovering the real David Crockett, a figure of enormous historical significance in the tumultuous and critical Jacksonian age." - Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize winning author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.
"The best thing on Crockett since William C. Davis's Three Roads to the Alamo. This book should have long life." -- Allen Barra, author of Inventing Wyatt Earp.
"A highly readable work that sifts the nuggets of truth from the mud of speculation . . . Intensely researched and footnoted." —Gary Zaboly, author, A True Ranger: The Life and Many Wars of Major Robert Rogers; illustrator, Texian Illiad and Blood of Noble Men
About the Author
James R. Boylston is a member of the Alamo Society and the Alamo Battlefield Association and has written articles for "The Alamo Journal" and "The Crockett Chronicle." He is also the creator and moderator of the Alamo Studies online forum, a web based discussion group devoted to the serious study of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution. Allen J. Wiener is the author of "The Beatles: The Ultimate Recording Guide" and co-author of "Music of the Alamo." He has written for the "Washington Post," "People," "American History," "Goldmine," "Discoveries," "The Alamo Journal" and "The Crockett Chronicle," and has written liner notes for several CDs.
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While this book is not a full blown biography in the strict sense, it does focus on Crockett at the height of his fame and powers, using his own words, framed by evenhanded and nuanced commentary from both authors. It not only raises the bar on Crockett biographies for its thoroughness, it will be indispensable to any future dissertations on the historical man. The portrait that emerges from these pages therefore is not the naïve, fish out of water that other biographers have tended to sketch, but a long overdue and achingly human image of a man both at odds with and acutely in touch with his own times.
Not only does this book contain the most comprehensive collection of Crockett’s speeches, letters and circulars to date, it for the first time publishes all known contemporary likenesses of Crockett under one roof, which alone is worth the price of admission. Bright Sky Press apparently spared no expense in the printing of this book either, it looks and feels so good that I just can’t file it on my shelf spine out….it has a shelf of its own.
Then I read it, and had still another revelation. You see, folks, this is no ordinary history book. It's a landmark in Crockett literature. Bottom line? This is the most important Crockett book to appear in over fifty years. I know, because aside from a handful of juvenile biographies and storybooks, I've read them all.
Why is it so important? First, it provides a wealth of new scholarship regarding an vital and long overlooked period of Crockett's life. And second, it introduces us to the real David Crockett in a way never before possible - in his own words.
"Wait!" you say. "Didn't Crockett write an autobiography?" Yes he did, sort of. And it's a fine read. But he had help. It's not pure Crockett, and it's not always as factual as historians would like.
That autobiography was published in 1834, and for the next 122 years, biographers just rehashed the same information. James Atkins Shackford changed all that in 1956, with David Crockett: The Man and the Legend, opening up acres of new territory in Crockett's life. Most important of these was Crockett's political career. But while Shackford's work on that period was groundbreaking, it left me wanting more. I kept expecting someone to dig into the original sources Shackford only alluded to and give us the whole story.
That's what James Boylston and Allen Wiener have done, and the result is far more than I'd hoped for. The back half of the book delivers all the poop from those original sources - letters, circulars, newspaper articles, and the congressional record. Much of this stuff is in Crockett's own unvarnished words (complete with lack of punctuation), taking us closer to the real man than we've ever been.
The first half of the book puts that information in context, taking us step-by-step through Crockett's career in Congress. Boylston and Wiener introduce us to all the major players, both friend and foe, and give us a firm grounding in the issues of the day, allowing us to understand what Crockett was up against, and appreciate what his actions revealed about his character.
This is not the Davy we saw on the Disney show. This is the real guy, and we get to know him warts and all. The Crockett that emerges is a different kind of hero, the one hinted at in the book's subtitle. Whatever troubles came his way (and they were many), Crockett never lost sight of his ideals, and truly was "the Poor Man's Friend".
It's well written, contains lots of new research, not to mention Crockett's collected correspondence, selected speeches and circulars, which takes up about 60% of the book. Never have a book about David Crockett contained that many documents!
It also contains 17 pages full of Color illustrations, mostly the various known portraits of Crockett, and the last 7 pages are reproductions of a couple of Crockett's letters in his own handwriting.
The book itself has a beautiful cover (and a dust jacket with the same motif), and the pages are much thicker than in most books, which is a delight. It appears to be a well crafted book with a beautiful layout and the publisher deserves all possible credit.
You get a lot of value for your $19.77!
Nobody interested in David Crockett should be without this book!
Big Sky Press should be complemented for the excellent job they have done in the layout and presentation of this book. It's over all design is outstanding!
Most recent customer reviews
IT REMINDS ME OF WHY KIDS HATE HISTORY BOOKS. READ EDWARD RUTHERFURD.Read more