Thanks the modern miracle of books on audio I read more. One such book I read a while back was the autobiography of Davey Crocket. It is the published manuscript he left behind among his personal affects at the Alamo.
I loved the Davey Crocket story for several reasons:
1. It was written in 1836. It was unedited and unabridged, exactly as the manuscript was found at the Alamo. This means we get exactly what he was thinking, not what some do-gooder thought he was thinking.
2. Davey was a folk hero even while he was alive. This makes him an oddity.
3. Davey really was a backwoods guy. The only modern equivalent I can think of is Rupert from Survivor. Anyway, Davey only had a few months of formal education in his whole life. He was a very smart man, but entirely self-taught – and not from books, either. His “street smarts” (something he would have called something else entirely) outweighed all the classic intellect in congress or any other fine place. This made him humble and genuine in the most important ways, thus his writing was vigorous yet candid.
4. Though not at all evangelistic or even showing an outright interest in any theology, he speaks positively of faith and its keepers, even quoting James 1:27 once in his story. Though he spoke of drinking regularly, tobacco, and other things most of us today would consider vices, these characteristics only seem to make this fellow more endearing and don’t seem to detract from his ability to be a man of faith, unschooled though it obviously was.
5. Davey was a player in the early days of our government. He was born after the Revolutionary War, but only shortly after. He fought in Indian wars and against the British in the early 1800s. He had a lot to say about Indians, both the “friendly” and those he warred against. His take, being both honest and of the period when Indians inhabited Tennessee, makes it a vivid if brief picture of the relationship between the Whites and the Indians. As a congressman he was fair and honest, even blunt, standing staunchly for his beliefs, but his role in congress will likely always be dwarfed by his reputation as a man of the wild country and an interloper in the high order or politics.
6. One of the most amusing things in his book was his occasional references supposing he were to ever be president. Today anyone with a diary speaking of such ambitions would be considered arrogant in the extreme. Davey was brutally honest and by such demonstrations I can only view it with great humor, however serious he may have been. The truly funny thing is, I think he might well have been a contender for President by the 1840s if he hadn’t died in Texas.
7. Finally, while I would not want to emulate all his behaviors, David Crocket is a man whose character is worth emulating in minute detail. I felt like I’d been honored with his presence, and I was truly sorry to see his visit ended when the audio ran out.