The Oxford History of the American West

The Oxford History of the American West

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When we think of the American West, we tend to conjure up images that are known the world over: bearded forty-niners leading pack mules up a mountain trail, the Oklahoma land stampede, Custer's Last Stand, and especially the range-riding, quick-shooting cowboy. But these familiar images are only a small part of western history. From the arrival of the Navajos in the Southwest more than seven hundred years ago, to the first Spanish settlements in New Mexico in the late sixteenth century, to the large Mormon migration to the Great Salt Lake, to the tourists flocking to the neon landscape of modern Las Vegas, the complex story of the West stretches across centuries, embracing many voices and contrasting cultures. The West is in fact as varied as America itself. Indeed, to enlarge on Wallace Stegner's singular phrase, the West is America, only more so. Lavishly illustrated and based on the finest scholarship, The Oxford History of the American West is the first comprehensive study to do full justice to the rich complexity of this region. It brings together the work of twenty-eight leading western historians who explore this area from a dazzling number of perspectives. They provide insightful portraits of the West as a distinctive place of many peoples - native and non-native, European and Asian, African and Latino - and of many terrains - from the timbered Pacific Northwest to the Dakota Badlands, and from the fires of Kilauea to the ice cliffs of Glacier Bay, Alaska. They describe the great wealth generated by a series of spectacular bonanzas, such as gold at Sutter's Mill, copper in Butte, Montana, and oil on Alaska's north shore; illuminate the role of the West in the national and globaleconomy; and consider the environmental challenges created by replacing buffalo with cattle or by designating national parks and military test sites. The book also examines the social forces behind the violence of the West, the great political movements that affected the regionshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 885 pages
  • 200.66 x 251.46 x 58.42mm | 1,859.72g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • annotated edition
  • frontispiece, numerous colour and black and white illustrations, bibliography
  • 0195059689
  • 9780195059687

About Clyde A. Milner

About the Editors: Clyde A. Milner II is Editor of the Western Historical Quarterly and Professor of History at Utah State University. Carol A. O'Connor is Professor of History at Utah State University. Martha A. Sandweiss is Director of Mead Art Museum and Associate Professor of American Studies at Amherst more

Review Text

The West is never fixed. To early settlers the Appalachian Mountains marked the beginning of the West; by the time of the Civil War President Lincoln from Illinois was a Westerner, and President Reagan used the trappings of the cowboy to make himself a Westerner. But wherever the boundary is drawn, and this monumental study uses the Mississippi as the most convenient dividing line, the West has always had an incredible influence on the American imagination. It is the image of freedom and space, of independence and wealth and adventure that has fueled everything from Presidential campaigns to Hollywood movies. The West is America's mythology. But it is also far more than that, as the distinguished historians whose essays make up this book demonstrate. This history reaches from the arrival of the Navajos in the southwest more than 700 years ago to the LA riots in 1992, from the Mormon migrations to the gold camps of Alaska, from the paintings of Frederic Remington to the photographs of Ansel Adams. It is comprehensive and vibrant, a vital and readable account of the West in politics, economics, family life and popular culture as well as a thrilling description of set-piece events from Custer's Last Stand to the Oklahoma dust bowl. (Kirkus UK)show more

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44 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
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