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Born On A Mountaintop : On The Road With Davy Crockett And The Ghosts Of The Wild Frontier (2012)


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Published: New York : Crown Trade Group, c2012
Edition:  1st ed
Description:  375 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm
ISBN/ISSN: 9780307720894, 0307720896,
Language:  English

Traces the author's visits to key areas in the life of Davy Crockett, including the legendary frontiersman's Tennessee River Valley home and the Alamo site in Texas, exploring Crockett's true life and enduring cultural influence

An American icon: Pioneer. Congressman. Martyr of the Alamo. King of the Wild Frontier. As with all great legends, Davy Crockett's has been retold many times, repeatedly reinvented by historians and popular storytellers. In fact, one could argue that there are three distinct Crocketts: the real David, before he became famous; the celebrity politician whose backwoods image Crockett himself created, then lost control of; and the mythic Davy we know today. Bob Thompson follows Crockett's footsteps from his birthplace in East Tennessee, to Washington, where he served three terms in Congress, and on to the Alamo, seeking out those who know, love, and are still willing to fight over his life and legacy. More than just a bold new biography of one of the great American heroes, Thompson's rich mix of scholarship, reportage, humor, and exploration of modern Crockett landscapes brings Davy Crockett's impact on the American imagination vividly to life.--From publisher description

"Play that song again" -- Remember Kings Mountain! -- The ballad of Polly Finley -- David Crockett, Indian fighter -- Go west, poor man -- Crockett goes rogue -- "Don't get above your raisin'" -- "The richest country in the world" -- "Crockett goes a-head, though dead" -- "The whole country came unglued" -- Soldiers in the Crockett wars -- The ghosts of Davy Crockett

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Born On A Mountaintop : On The Road With Davy Crockett And The Ghosts Of The Wild Frontier

In 1955 my hero was Davy Crockett. Back then I even thought I knew the words to the Disney TV theme "The Ballad Of Davy Crockett" by Bill Hayes. My version went something like this:  "...Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greatest state in the land of the free. Killed him a 'bar' when he was only three. Ran around the woods in his coonskin BVDs!..."  Hey, I was only five years old. The days of the coonskin craze have long passed.  So, imagine my delight when I found  Bob Thompson's new biography Born On A Mountaintop: On The Road With Davy Crockett And The Ghosts Of The Wild Frontier in our Marketplace.

Bob Thompson, former feature writer for the Washington Post, has an easy-going writing style. Thompson explores the many myths and magic of the Davy Crockett lore. Reading this book is like watching a bloodhound tracking a scent...no stone is left unturned.

One chapter outlines why Walt Disney chose Fess Parker to star in his TV studio's project after viewing a scene from the 1954 film "Them." There is discussion about why it took so long for John Wayne to complete his 1960 film "The Alamo." And of course there is the comparison between Wayne's interpretation of Davy Crockett and Billy Bob Thornton's, as viewed in his 2004 release of "The Alamo."

In a lot of ways Davy Crockett helped perpetrate many of the popular myths about his life. One notion that is still controversial today is how he died at the Alamo. If he was alive today, he most likely could add "spin doctor" to his resume.
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