This portrait of Johnny Appleseed restores the flesh-and-blood man beneath the many myths. It separates man from legend and explores how one of the most extravagant myths about early America got born and grew--from the frontier wilderness to Walt Disney and beyond. It captures the boldness of an iconic American and the sadness of his last years, as the frontier marched past him, ever westward. And it shows how death liberated the legend and made of Johnny a barometer of the nation’s feelings about its own heroic past and the supposed Eden it once had been. Howard Means does for America’s inner frontier what Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage did for its western one.
“Means supports the legend with hard-earned fact in his portrait of Chapman as a ‘nurseryman; religious zealot; real-estate dabbler’ and even altruistic capitalist.” --The Wall Street Journal
“Johnny Appleseed is one of the great myths of our childhood. With insight and a lively touch, Howard Means tells us the story of the real Johnny Appleseed, John Chapman, a mystic and visionary who turns out to be a most memorable American character.”--Evan Thomas, author of The War Lovers
“We all know the caricature, but few of us know the man. Howard Means produces a feast of a story that strips away the myths of this folk-tale hero and gives us the real John Chapman and the rough-and-tumble world he lived in. This is a thoroughly fascinating and fun book." --Jay Winik, author of April 1865 and The Great Upheaval
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