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A Familiar Wilderness: Searching for Home on Daniel Boone’s Road by S. J. Dahlman

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This is the author’s enjoyable, down-to-earth, story of his three-hundred-mile hike along the Wilderness Road.  He starts at Sycamore Shoals State Park, the place where, in 1775, the South Carolina land speculator, Richard Henderson, purchased much of Kentucky and part of Tennessee from the Cherokees over the objections of Dragging Canoe and subsequently hired Daniel Boone to make a road and a settlement into his new property.  Following the Wilderness Road, Dahlman entered Virginia east of present-day Kingsport, and entered Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap. He ends up at Boonesborough, the community that Daniel Boone and his party, that included African-American slaves, established to begin to settle Henderson’s land.  Although Dahlman does delve into history, this is basically a human-interest story about the very wide variety of people he meets along the way, including many who provide much appreciated hospitality. Actually, there are few books out there that give such a thorough and concrete snapshot of the people of contemporary Appalachia. The author, S. J. Dahlman, teaches humanities at Milligan College, located near Sycamore Shoals.

Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 2019. 312 pages with an Index, Further Reading, Notes, Appendix and photos. Trade paperback