September 28, 2010
13 b&w illus., 7 maps
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.5 Pounds (US)
$37.00 USD, £29.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Kentucke's Frontiers

American culture has long celebrated the heroism framed by Kentucky's frontier wars. Spanning the period from the 1720s when Ohio River valley Indians returned to their homeland to the American defeat of the British and their Indian allies in the War of 1812, Kentucke's Frontiers examines the political, military, religious, and public memory narratives of early Kentucky. Craig Thompson Friend explains how frontier terror framed that heroism, undermining the egalitarian promise of Kentucke and transforming a trans-Appalachian region into an Old South state. From county courts and the state legislature to church tribunals and village stores, patriarchy triumphed over racial and gendered equality, creating political and economic opportunity for white men by denying it for all others. Even in remembering their frontier past, Kentuckians abandoned the egalitarianism of frontier life and elevated white males to privileged places in Kentucky history and memory.

About the Author

Craig Thompson Friend is Professor of History at North Carolina State University. He is author of Along the Maysville Road: The Early American Republic in the Trans-Appalachian West and editor of The Buzzel About Kentuck: Settling the Promised Land.


"Friend (North Carolina State Univ.) essays an explanation of Kentucke's evolution into Kentucky, from frontier settlements into a state. Recounting the exploits of Native peoples and the legendary heroes involved in this process, the author succumbs to the continuing mythology generated by border wars filiopietism plus the narrow paradigm ventured by Richard Slotkin in 1973. Drawing also on older publications and too dependent on the unevenly voluminous Draper Collections, the author sketches a frontier personified by bad-guy versus good-guy dynamics and mythology (the mythic Mary Draper Ingles, the heroic George Rogers Clark, and the villainous 'white savage' Simon Girty). Trying to sort out the grounding for these perspectives becomes frustrating in the face of a nonstandard citation system and the absence of a traditional bibliography. There is to some degree a 'Virginia' skew to Friend's early Kentucke descriptions, as well as a lack of balance with respect to larger questions, e.g., 'nearly all Kentuckians recognized the immorality of slavery.' The latter statement lacks documentary support and is doubtful on the face of the claim, given Kentucky's colonial heritage in proslavery Virginia and North Carolina. Summing Up: Recommended. . . —Choice"— J. H. O'Donnell III, Marietta College, July 2011

"This is a fine contribution to the historiography of Kentucky and frontier history. Kentucke's Frontiers is a 'must have' for professors and students who are interested in both of these subjects."—Northwest Ohio History

"This is an eminently readable book, and [Friend] has done a wonderful job of weaving together the voices of the residents of frontier Kentucky of all racial and social groups. . . . Kentucke's Frontiers is a wonderful resource for those interested in learning more about the first trans-Appalachian state and the trans-Appalachian west more broadly."—The Tennessee Historical Quarterly

"In this rich, challenging, and enjoyable book, Friend examines the social, cultural, economic, political, and military histories of Kentucke (now Kentucky) from the 1720s to the War of 1812. . . . The merits of this sweeping book are too numerous to chronicle sufficiently in this brief review. Nevertheless, Friend is at his strongest in his examination of the roles of memory and mythology in justifying white domination."—American Studies

"Anyone interested in the history of the American frontier or the creation of the Bluegrass State will certainly want to add this volume to his or her library."—The Journal of Southern History

"Friend's narrative is detailed and engaging . . . [His] skillful infusion of contemporary historiography and methodology separates his study of frontier Kentucky from previous works."—The Journal of American History

"Kentucke's Frontiers . . . is an excellent book—thoroughly researched, beautifully written, handsomely produced, and creatively documented."—North Carolina Historical Review

"Deftly weaving together numerous interpretive strands, Craig Friend's first-rate study explains how the passage from 'Kentucke' to 'Kentucky' turned the first trans-Appalachian frontier from the leading edge of America's New West to the border of its Old South. This book is both an essential and an elegant read."—Stephen Aron, author of How the West Was Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky From Daniel Boone to Henry Clay

9780253355195 : kentuckes-frontiers-friend
400 Pages
$37.00 USD

Other Titles by Craig Thompson Friend

The Buzzel About Kentuck

edited by Craig Thompson Friend
Nov 2021 - University Press of Kentucky
$35.00 USD - Electronic book text
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback

A New History of Kentucky, second edition

James C. Klotter, Craig Thompson Friend
Nov 2018 - University Press of Kentucky
$44.95 USD - Hardback
$44.95 USD - Electronic book text
$44.95 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles from A History of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier

Alabama's Frontiers and the Rise of the Old South

Daniel S. Dupre
Jan 2018 - Indiana University Press
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$60.00 USD - Hardback

The Wisconsin Frontier

Mark Wyman
Feb 2011 - Indiana University Press
$25.00 USD - Paperback / softback

American Confluence

Stephen Aron
Sep 2009 - Indiana University Press
$24.00 USD - Paperback / softback

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Bluegrass Craftsman

edited by Frances L. S. Dugan, Jacqueline P. Bull
Dec 2025 - University Press of Kentucky
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$12.95 USD - Electronic book text

Camp Nelson, Kentucky

Richard D. Sears
Dec 2025 - University Press of Kentucky
$40.00 USD - Hardback
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Revolt of the Rednecks

Albert D. Kirwan
Dec 2025 - University Press of Kentucky
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