If you don't have it automatically start X, you can
shift-PageUp to see the boot messages. This is often much
more convenient than digging through log files and such.
Unfortunately, the version of getty you're using clears the
screen before displaying the login prompt. Hence, many of
the latter boot messages are erased.
The solution is to print a bunch of blank lines at the end
of the boot sequence. It should use curses or something
like that to determine how many lines are necessary for
those of us who use odd text modes.
If this bothers you, you can add --noclear to the arguments for
mingetty in /etc/inittab.