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Lunch » Tags » Untagged » Born on a Mountaintop: On the Road with Davy Crockett and the Ghosts of the Wild Frontier » User review

...in Tennessee

  • Mar 19, 2013
I'm one of those baby boomers who got caught up in the Davy Crockett craze when I was 9, with my Crockett t-shirt (no coonskin cap) and flintlock rifle. Now I have my complete DVD Disney collection of the five Crockett productions, and my possession of a tiny coonskin cap that covers the top of a wine bottle my daughter bought for me at Fess parker's winery. My friends and I spent many hours defending the "Alamo" (actually a wall in my back yard) from Santa Ana's army. I also have the Classics Illustrated edition of Davy Crockett. Over the years I've read many books on Crockett and the Texas revolt, and also several on the various theories as to what exactly happened at the Alamo, and whether Crockett died fighting, or surrendered and was executed.

This extremely interesting book goes into both sides of Crockett, the historic David Crockett, and the Disney Davy Crockett that most people believe is the truth. The author spent a year traveling to many places associated with Crockett, and he either accepts the Crockett aspect at each one, or debunks it. His prose is light and the language breezy, and just fun to read, for the most part.

The longest part of the book is the Alamo segment, and he goes into a lot of detail as to what is believed to have happened at that siege, and what most people believe happened, based largely on Disney's version. He delves deeply into the thorny thicket of Crockett's death, and presents evidence from both sides, the dying at his post side, and the surrender and execution side. After extensive discussion, he appears to come down on the fighting side, probably knowing full well that his conclusion will be challenged by the other side. I don't know what happened, but my heart is on the side of the fighting David also, with no actual evidence to support it.

There are a lot of Crockett books, most of them quite good, and I strongly recommend this one to the reader who wants to gain more insight into the actual life of the "King of the Wild Frontier", who will forever be Fess Parker to me.

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March 20, 2013
Thanks for sharing!
About the reviewer
Frank J. Konopka ()
Ranked #89
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
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“Bob Thompson can flat-out write, and he paints a vivid picture here of David Crockett, who was a far more complex and interesting man—and myth—than his coonskinned, bear-hunting, Alamo-defending iconic image. He combines excellent research and a born storyteller’s skill to create a lively and entertaining look at one of America’s great characters. This is road-trip history at its best.” – Jim Donovan, author of The Blood of Heroes 

Born on a Mountaintop explores the blurry boundary between America’s legends and histories, and how the relationship between the two often tells us much about the construction of belief in the absence of hard facts.  And, it is also a great road trip--one that leaves you wanting to have ridden shotgun along the way.” – Charles Frazier, author of Nightwoods and Cold Mountain

"Bob Thompson's shrewd and heartfelt account of his year-long journey through the thickets of Davy Crockett lore is essential reading for anyone who's ever worn a coonskin cap, dreamt of the wild frontier, or remembered the Alamo.  A briskly entertaining book that nonetheless has serious things to say about how we memorialize--and inevitably mythologize--the iconic figures of our history." – Gary Krist, author of City of Scoundrels 

"I opened this book intending to skim a few pages but immediately became hooked. Thompson does a splendid job of evoking the life...
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