Book Review: Kent Russell raises questions about masculinity, progeny, and posterity in Timid Son

Early on in his collection of essays, Kent Russell recounts a few anecdotes from a biography of frontiersman Daniel Boone, focusing on the deaths of two of Boone’s sons. After depositing the second son’s body in a mass grave following the Battle Of Blue Licks, Boone is purported to have offered the less-than-flattering eulogy, “I did not hear your name when they were beating up for volunteers… I am sorry to think I have raised a timid son.”

To lead with Boone works for Russell’s collection, which pulls its title from the latter portion of that quote, on two levels: on one level, as a not-so-subtle analogy of Russell’s relationship with his own father, which is the predominant subject of the time-stamped essays that break up (and hope to tie together) Russell’s prior acts of immersion journalism. In those essayspreviously published by the likes …

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