When Daniel Boone died in 1820, just a few days short of his eighty-sixth birthday, he was already the most famous American on the frontier and would maintain that position, even when challenged later by the likes of Davy Crockett and Kit Carson. His career was coextensive with the birth of the United States and its rise to a position of power among the nations. Multiple legends have accumulated around him like barnacles on the hull of a schooner, and Meredith Brown makes it part of his task to do a spot of ‘careening’, scraping away the myth and allowing us to see the historical figure.
Even in terms of sober historical achievement Boone’s feats were impressive. On foot, horseback or canoe he travelled the eastern seaboard from Maryland to Florida, thoroughly explored North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee, and made forays into Ohio, Michigan, across the Mississippi and up the Missouri. He was effectively