The taking of Jemima Boone Colonial settlers, tribal nations, and the kidnap that shaped America

Matthew Pearl

Book - 2021

Explores the little-known true story of the kidnapping of thirteen-year-old Jemima Boone, Daniel Boone's daughter, by a Cherokee-Shawnee raiding party and the ensuing battle with reverberations that nobody could predict.

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers [2021]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
272 pages : illustration ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 239-260) and index.
ISBN
9780062937780
0062937782
Main Author
Matthew Pearl (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

The kidnapping and rescue of Daniel Boone's daughter may be the inciting incident of novelist Pearl's (The Dante Chamber, 2018) nonfiction debut, but it serves as the narrative catalyst for much more. In the book's early chapters, Pearl chronicles this capture and release tale, playing to the strengths of his fiction background as he elegantly weaves the perspectives of settlers, Native populations, and enslaved peoples. However, as the narrative continues, Pearl begins to get lost in something of a name-dropping soup, sometimes losing the story to a barrage of facts. Those facts are important, though and with more than 230 sources, Pearl painstakingly cultivates an accurate account of events. But he's at his best when he leans into more expressive language: To be stuck in the middle of a fierce war in which one's own land was directly at issue felt apocalyptic, with good reason. Despite these ebbs and flows, The Taking of Jemima Boone is an authoritative primer on Kentucky's white settlers and Indigenous populations. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Daniel Boone's daughter, 13-year-old Jemima, and friends Betsy and Fanny were kidnapped from their Kentucky outpost by a Cherokee-Shawnee raiding party challenging the settlers' theft and decimation of their land. Hanging Maw, the raiders' leader, soon recognized Jemima's value as a bargaining chip, and she planned to use Jemima to secure a peaceful resolution of tensions. As New York Times best-selling novelist Pearl argues in his nonfiction debut, Jemima's rescue in an ambush led by her father upended Hanging Maw's plans—and possibly changed how America's colonists and its original peoples would interact in the future. With a 150,000-copy first printing. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Novelist Pearl (The Dante Club) makes his nonfiction debut with a riveting account of the July 1776 kidnapping of frontiersman Daniel Boone's daughter and two friends by Cherokee and Shawnee Indians. Pearl vividly evokes life on the Kentucky frontier and details how Jemima Boone and sisters Betsy and Fanny Callaway dropped clues along the trail telling the rescue party how many captors there were, and where they were being taken. During the rescue, the son of Shawnee leader Blackfish was killed; in retaliation, raids on colonial settlements increased. Months after the girls' rescue, the Shawnee captured Daniel Boone and 28 other men from the settlement of Boonesboro and adopted many of them into the tribe. Boone became the replacement for Blackfish's murdered son and developed a strong rapport with the Shawnee chief that lasted even after Boone made his escape. Pearl illuminates shifting alliances and betrayals among Native tribes, British soldiers, and American colonists during the early years of the Revolutionary War, and notes that Blackfish advocated diplomacy over violence and tried to turn the frontier into an "integrated shared space." Instead, the Kentucky settlements became "a testing ground" for manifest destiny, with catastrophic results for the tribes. This enthralling, meticulously researched tale sheds news light on Daniel Boone and early American culture. Agent: Susan Gluck, WME. (Oct.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Explores the little-known true story of the kidnapping of thirteen-year-old Jemima Boone, Daniel Boone's daughter, by a Cherokee-Shawnee raiding party and the ensuing battle with reverberations that nobody could predict.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Explores the little-known true story of the kidnapping of 13-year-old Jemima Boone, Daniel Boone’s daughter, by a Cherokee-Shawnee raiding party and the ensuing battle with reverberations that nobody could predict. 150,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

“A rousing tale of frontier daring and ingenuity, better than legend on every front.” — Pulitzer Prize–winning author Stacy SchiffA Goodreads Most Anticipated Book In his first work of narrative nonfiction, Matthew Pearl, bestselling author of acclaimed novel The Dante Club, explores the little-known true story of the kidnapping of legendary pioneer Daniel Boone’s daughter and the dramatic aftermath that rippled across the nation. On a quiet midsummer day in 1776, weeks after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, thirteen-year-old Jemima Boone and her friends Betsy and Fanny Callaway disappear near the Kentucky settlement of Boonesboro, the echoes of their faraway screams lingering on the air.A Cherokee-Shawnee raiding party has taken the girls as the latest salvo in the blood feud between American Indians and the colonial settlers who have decimated native lands and resources. Hanging Maw, the raiders’ leader, recognizes one of the captives as Jemima Boone, daughter of Kentucky's most influential pioneers, and realizes she could be a valuable pawn in the battle to drive the colonists out of the contested Kentucky territory for good.With Daniel Boone and his posse in pursuit, Hanging Maw devises a plan that could ultimately bring greater peace both to the tribes and the colonists. But after the girls find clever ways to create a trail of clues, the raiding party is ambushed by Boone and the rescuers in a battle with reverberations that nobody could predict. As Matthew Pearl reveals, the exciting story of Jemima Boone’s kidnapping vividly illuminates the early days of America’s westward expansion, and the violent and tragic clashes across cultural lines that ensue.In this enthralling narrative in the tradition of Candice Millard and David Grann, Matthew Pearl unearths a forgotten and dramatic series of events from early in the Revolutionary War that opens a window into America’s transition from colony to nation, with the heavy moral costs incurred amid shocking new alliances and betrayals.