Boone, Black Hawk, and Crockett in 1833

Unsettling the Mythic West

  • Author(s): Lofaro, Michael A.
  • Series:
  • Imprint: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 2019-10-22
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Hardcover - Printed Case: Price $60.00 | Buy Now


“This book should become a core work in American Studies, bridging colonial history, Native American studies, frontier history, and related fields. No one has done more with the subjects treated or brings more scholarly weight to this work than does Michael Lofaro.” – David Moltke-Hanson, former president of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

“While these books are certainly well known to scholars within the related fields of both history and literature, they have never been intellectually linked before and placed with the scholarly conceptualization of the creation of American identity.” —Paul A. Hutton, author of The Apache Wars


Although name such as Daniel Boone, Black Hawk, and “Davy” Crockett are familiar to most Americans, the historical, political, and literary contexts that produced the mythical images of these figures are unfamiliar to most outside academia. In Boone, Black Hawk, and Crockett in 1833, Michael A. Lofaro compiles, annotates, and analyzes three (auto)biographical writings published in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1833-The Biographical Memoir of Daniel Boone; Life of Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, or Black Hawk; and The Life and Col. David Crockett of West Tennessee-to reveal how the portrayals of Boone, Black Hawk, and Crockett revised the idea of the “frontier hero.” By placing them together in dialogue through the scholarly reediting of their texts, Lofaro demonstrates that these works exemplify, typify, and epitomize masculinity, burgeoning capitalism, and Jacksonian democracy, probe beliefs in race and class, and provide nothing short of a deep dissection of the frontier mentality of the antebellum period. Additionally, the reception of these works influenced the ways in which nineteenth-century Americans understood and perceived manifest destiny, the removal of Native Americans from their homelands, to the west of the Mississippi River, and the waning concept of “American frontier.” With its great scope and insight, this publication creates connections among many academic disciplines, including colonial America, Jacksonian America, Native American studies, as well as literary and folklore studies.

MICHAEL A. LOFARO is professor emeritus of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Among is publications are Daniel Boone: An American Life. He also serves as the general editor of The Works of James Agee.