The book is a pastorical account of formative boyhood influences in the form of letters by Doctor Daniel Drake to his adult children written in 1847. The letters were originally published in a book by his son, Charles Drake in 1880.
Dr Drake, an infant when his family moved from New Jersey to Kentucky, was initiated into a lifetime love of adventure. He learned work by helping his family carve a life from the forest. He rose from poverty to be a true self made man. A modern social worker would wince at pioneer living conditions that Drake transcended.
As an adult, he traveled extensively, gathering and writing valuable environmental facts about the mid-west. He became a nationally known, brilliant, compassionate doctor and lecturer. He was a pioneer throughout his life. His letters to his children describe his family pastoral life .
The essence of the book is a conversion of the personal to social meaning.