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The Spirit of the Border

Zane Grey

Book Overview: 

This is an early novel by the phenomenally successful author of frontier, western and sports stories. It deals with historical characters and incidents in the Ohio Valley in the late 18th century, especially with the foundation of Gnaddenhutten, a missionary village intended to bring Christianity to the Indians of Ohio, despite the violent opposition of both Indians and white renegades. This turbulent adventure romance features the heroics of a semi-legendary frontiersman, Lewis Wetzel, who attempts to protect the settlers from hostile Native Americans and the vicious white outlaws the Girty brothers.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Elliott, the Tory deserter, from Fort Pitt, a wiry, spider-like little man; and last, the gaunt and gaudily arrayed form of the demon of the frontier—Jim Girty.

The procession halted before this group, and two brawny braves pushed the hunter forward. Simon Girty's face betrayed satisfaction; Elliott's shifty eyes snapped, and the dark, repulsive face of the other Girty exhibited an exultant joy. These desperadoes had feared this hunter.

Wingenund, with a majestic wave of his arm, silenced the yelling horde of frenzied savages and stepped before the captive.

The deadly foes were once again face to face. The chieftain's lofty figure and dark, sleek head, now bare of plumes, towered over the other Indians, but he was not obliged to lower his gaze in order to look straight into the hunter's eyes.

Verily this hunter merited the respect which shone in the great chieftain's glance. Lik. . . Read More

Community Reviews

With a spirit and tradition of stories by James Fenimore Cooper and a preamble to the works of Louis LÁmour, The Spirit of the Border by Zane Grey fits comfortably between. Grey displays a ready talent in painting a detailed picture of the westward expansion and settlement of new lands by the sti...more

This is a tale set sometime after the Revolutionary War in the late 18th century. It involves frontiersmen, missionaries, and natives, all clashing on the border between European settlers and American Indians. The viewpoints are perhaps somewhat stereotypical, and the characters lacking some dime...more

This is allegedly a historical novel about the opening of the "west". Only, we're at the end of the 18th century, and the "west" means whatever is west of Pittsburgh (well, Fort Pitt in those days). Apparently, some of the material comes from some papers Zane Grey found in his family's archives....more

Second in the Ohio River trilogy, Zane Grey brings us back to the Ohio frontier in the year 1782. The westward expansion of settlers into the great forests of the Ohio region is not for the faint of heart. Taking a small slice out of the greater battleground of the American Revolution, Grey makes...more

Zane Grey had not really hit his stride yet with this early work, an historical fiction novel set in the upper Ohio River valley in Revolutionary War times. 'The Spirit of the Border' tends to be plodding and verbose, with way too much description and 'telling.' Here and there are action scenes t...more

This was an intense book about native Americans becoming Christians and then being slain by their own people who were led by white renegades who hated Christianity. As always, Grey's writing is superb, classical, and precise. I only subtracted one star because the book didn't end like I wanted.

This is book two of what is called the Ohio River Trilogy, the first being Betty Zane. These books are apparently from a journal of Zane Greys grandmother, so reading them one feels the depth of the hardship of "border life" more fervently. Saying that I enjoyed these books would be true, but for...more

I would be willing to give this book a 3.5 stars. Since it was written so long ago, there are passages that were acceptable then but not politically correct at this time, especially in reference to the Native American population.

Grey always writes beautiful descriptions. The Ohio territory and t...more

This is another book by Zane Grey based on past relatives of his from the 1700s. They were the Zane family, some of who lived at Fort Henry, some of which enjoyed being out in the wild, and some who kill Indians. There had been a peaceful treaty recently, but there are still Indians encouraged b...more

Spirit of the Border (1906) by Zane Grey (1872-1939) is a historical novel about the American frontier during the American War of Independence (1775 - 1783). At this time, the United States' frontier began at Fort Pitt (present-day Pittsburgh), and the Ohio River was a main artery to penetrate th...more

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