Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, the American Story

Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, the American Story

by Howard Means


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Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, the American Story 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
juglicerr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is not a biography in the narrow sense. As stated in the subtitle, Means investigates not only the (often misrepresented) life of John (not Jonathan) Chapman, but also explores the context in which he lived, the uses that later people have made of his story, and the various ways in which he has been represented, such as the Disney cartoon. This book would be about half as long if it was only a biography. As such, it rambles amiably about the early history of Midwestern towns, Chapman's flamboyant cousin Count Rumford; other orchardists; the uses of apples (mainly as hard cider); and so forth, intermittently coming back to its interrupted narrative. It frequently is less than compelling reading, but by the end, it is interesting to know all these little details and have had the Midwest, when it was the western frontier, brought to life. I have a relentlessly unromantic view of the past, and I personally would have stayed back East in the big city, but as an American, I am glad to learn about America outside of my own experience. I suspect that some readers will not like this meandering, tangential style, and I leave it them to judge their own taste.
SuperReaderChick More than 1 year ago
Johnny Appleseed has always been a much-beloved historical figure for me as a former Kindergarten teacher. I found this book to be a thorough account of his life and great at distinguishing between the man and the myth. As a former resident of western Pennsylvania and someone who frequented the PA Turnpike, I found the description of the route during John Chapman's time to be humorously similar to my current feelings about the rough road; I had to laugh at that part of the book. This book really does well with painting the picture of John Chapman in entirerty. I had a much better understanding of his life and times than I expected. I enjoyed how in-depth the details were of the American frontier during his travels. It was really much more than just a biography of the man. It was a thorough look at the new frontier of America. It also showed how it was that John Chapman became Johnny Appleseed over time through the words of others. I enjoyed this book and definitely feel as if I have a much better understanding of the man, the myth, and the American legend.
hotfingers More than 1 year ago
The author does a great job of fleshing out an American folk character who is surrounded by myth. This isn't just a biography of a man but an interesting history of our country in the formative years following the Revolution. The book explores the many tales which exist about John Chapman and digs up many facts about his life. A must read for history buffs or anyone who just likes a good story.
Possomholler More than 1 year ago
I started this book looking forward to reading about this person. I found it difficult to follow all the jumping about in the book as to who , what or where anything was going on. Thus I gave up fustrated and dissapointed. I do not recommend it to the average person.
wordalone More than 1 year ago
This book, of manageable length, is a pleasant surprise as a history book, but a history of the actual events and a history of the mythology, separate, yet entwined and compared. Complete with maps in handy placement in the text, this work is long overdue and presents the real Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) and frankly admits the parts we don't know, and supports those we do. In addition to the good research that Means conducted to write the book, he makes it even better with his very readable writing style. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago