The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

(p. 9), the appearance of his autobiography and the first Davy Crockett
almanac in 1835 rendered his name a household word. The editors of
these fanciful almanacs invented many tales and assured the emer-
gence of a many-sided hero: humorous taleteller, brawler, Indian
fighter, purveyor of racism, advocate of southern sectionalism, and
frontier "redeemer" from the debilitating effects of industrialized
urban life. To add complexity to this image, these tales often made
Crockett the brunt of jokes, and a popular black song-"Pompey
Smash"-gave the Tennessee brawler a prominent place.
This book contributes significantly to our understanding of this fron-
tier hero's place in the American mind. The Walt Disney television se-
ries about Crockett in 1954-1955, featuring an unknown actor, Fess
Parker, planted an indelible image of the coonskin-capped hero upon
the public. Although a very "sanitized" Crockett, the Americans ac-
cepted Parker's portrayal of the frontier hunter as genuine. Crockett
supplanted Daniel Boone, who deserved the laurels of hero more than
the "hero of the Alamo," as the foremost pioneer. Perhaps the most im-
portant contribution of this work is the subjection of the Crockett leg-
end to systematic analysis. The various contributors apply the methods
of folklore, mythology, popular culture, and even those of Fernand
Braudel and the Annales school of historians. While some overlap oc-
curs from chapter to chapter, this is to be expected in such a volume.
Arkansas State University LARRY D. BALL
Little Crow: Spokesman for the Sioux. By Gary Clayton Anderson. (St.
Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1986. Pp. 259. Introduc-
tion, prelude, acknowledgments, illustrations, maps, notes, bibli-
ography, index. $19.95, cloth; $10.95, paper.)
This is an "ethno-biography" (p. 3) of Little Crow, a prominent Sioux
Indian who spent most of his life, from his birth about 181o to his
death in 1863, in the upper Mississippi, lower Minnesota valley area.
The book chronicles the rise of this descendent of chieftains to his posi-
tion as a spokesman for the Sioux in their dealings with the United
States government. Anderson sees this Mdewakanton (a member of
one of the so-called four eastern Sioux tribes) as a man who was hungry
for power among both Indians and whites, who recognized that resist-
ing white domination was futile, and who believed, nevertheless, that
accommodation did not have to include massive cultural change for the
Sioux (p. 4). Yet Little Crow became famous by reluctantly leading the
Sioux uprising of 1862, one of the bloodiest Indian wars in United
States history, and one of the most inconvenient for the whites, coming
as it did during the Civil War.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117152/. Accessed July 29, 2014.