Assessing agriculture in its economic, political, social, and environmental contexts, Hurt sheds new light on the fate of the Confederacy from the optimism of secession to the reality of collapse.
Based on primary collections, newspaper articles, government documents, and secondary sources, this well-crafted biography begins with Nathan's childhood in present-day Kentucky and Virginia and then follows his family's move to Missouri. Hurt traces Boone's early activities as a hunter, trapper, and surveyor, as well as his leadership of a company of rangers during the War of 1812. After the war, Boone returned to survey work. In 1831, he organized another company of rangers for the Black Hawk War and returned to military life, making it his career. The remainder of the book recounts Boone's activities with the army in Iowa and the Indian Territory, where he was the first Boone to gain notice outside Missouri or Kentucky. Even today his work is recognized in the form of state parks, buildings, and place-names.
Although Nathan Boone was an important figure, he lived much of his life in the shadow of his father. R. Douglas Hurt, however, makes a strong case for Nathan's contribution to the larger context of life in the American backcountry, especially the execution of military and Indian policy and the settlement of the frontier.
By recognizing the significant role that Nathan Boone played, Nathan Boone and the American Frontier also provides the recognition due the many unheralded frontiersmen who helped settle the West. Anyone with an interest in the history of Missouri, the frontier, or the Boone name will find this book informative and compelling.
This study examines the effects of the Civil War on agriculture for both the Union and the Confederacy from 1860 to 1865, emphasizing how agriculture directly related to the war effort in each region—for example, the efforts made to produce more food for military and civilian populations; attempts to limit cotton production; cotton as a diplomatic tool; the work of women in the fields; slavery as a key agricultural resource; livestock production; experiments to produce cotton, tobacco, and sugar in the North; and the adoption of new implements.