Historic Fiction Review – The Frontiersmen

29 Sep

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Guest Post by Ryan King, Author of the Land of Tomorrow Series

Allan W. Eckert’s The Frontiersmen is the best historical fiction book about early American frontier life I have ever read. The book is closely based on real events and Eckert researched the characters and story for seven years before he began writing. Even historians of this era, a notably difficult breed to impress, have few criticisms of Eckert’s works. A naturalist who wrote 225 Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom episodes and a dedicated amateur historian, Eckert’s narrative history style was before its time and much copied today.

The book centers on the life of Simon Kenton whose real name was Simon Girty. Kenton fled North Carolina after believing he had murdered his single mother’s oppressive landlord. Years later he learned the man had survived and Kenton felt free to again assume his true name. The story of Kenton focuses on the wild and unspoiled land to the west of the Appalachians when most of the European settlements were within twenty-five miles of the Atlantic Ocean. The timeline of the story begins just before the French and Indian War and proceeds through the American Revolutionary War and the chaotic period that followed. In this vast untamed wilderness, Kenton played a key role in opening the area to American settlers and was close personal friends with men such as Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, Anthony Wayne, and William Henry Harrison.

The other main character and storyline of the book revolves around Tecumseh, the leader of the Shawnee Indians in the Ohio Valley. Tecumseh and the Shawnee initially fight with the British against the French and then with the Americans against the British, but when it becomes apparent that the flow of settlers will not stop, Tecumseh forges an impressive Indian Confederation to counter the incursions. The final conflict between Tecumseh and the new American settlers sets the stage for the settlement of American to the Mississippi River.

The Frontiersmen is among the best historical fiction books I’ve ever read. It is certainly tops for covering the early American era and suitable for both adult and high school students. Very highly recommend.


Ryan King is a career army officer with multiple combat tours who continues to serve in the military. He has lived, worked, and traveled throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He writes post-apocalyptic, dystopian, thriller, horror, and action short stories, short novels, and novels.


Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Author Guest Blogs, Book Reviews, Reviews


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4 responses to “Historic Fiction Review – The Frontiersmen

  1. Ron Himebaugh

    September 10, 2019 at 2:46 am

    About that Simon Girty mixup; leads me to think you may not have read the book.

  2. David Stadt

    March 23, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    You state Simon Kenton and Simon Gerty were the same person. A well read 6th grader knows that us not true. I can’t believe anyone would say such a thing. Pretty much negates anything else you say.

  3. Michael Andrew Deeringer

    September 10, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Simon Kenton’s name was not Simon Girty. Simon Girty was sympathetic to the British. He went by the name Simon Butler after believing he killed the suitor to the woman he had fallen in love with.

  4. Sherm C

    September 30, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I certainly agree with your review of The Frontiersman. I have read it two or three times, and find it both entertaining and historically correct. It is amazing to me as a Kentuckian, that Daniel Boone has risen to search prominence in the minds of historians as opposed to Simon Kenton who apparently did more to settle a larger area of Kentucky and Ohio than Boone did.


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