10 Historical Overviews Of The American West

Billington, Ray Allen. American Frontier Heritage. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1993. 310 pp. Cloth $12.Very good. ISBN 0-8263-1463-5American Frontier Heritage
Ray Billington, the leading authority on the American frontier in the second half of the twentieth century, here surveys the heritage of the frontier experience. Following the ideas of Frederick Jackson Turner, Billington interprets the West as a series of westward-moving frontiers from the East to the West Coast. His coverage stops at the 1890s, the “closed frontier.”

  • Etulain, Richard W. Beyond the Missouri: The Story of the American West. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006. 466 pp. Cloth $75.New. Signed. ISBN 978-0-8263-4032-0.Beyond the Missouri: The Story of the American West
    This overview of the American West from earliest residents to about 2000 follows a middle-of-the-road perspective. Neither a triumphalist frontier story nor a work of New Western history, this work attempts to balance conservative and progressive emphases.
  • Furman, Necah Stewart. Walter Prescott Webb: His Life and Impact. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1976. 222 pp. Cloth, $20. Very good. ISBN 0-8263-0412-5.Walter Prescott Webb: His Life and Impact.
    This brief biography is a helpful introduction to the life and writings of Walter Prescott Webb. As the author shows, Webb’s The Great Plains (1931) was a benchmark in western historical writing, demonstrating how a physical environment could shape the history of the region.
  • Hawgood, John A. American Western Frontiers: The Exploration and Settlement of the Trans- Mississippi West. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967. 440 pp. Cloth, $25.Good.
    A smoothly written narrative history, this overview volume by a British scholar covers the American frontier to 1900. Mostly focusing on to-the-West movements, it does little with the twentieth century.
  • Hine, Robert V., and John Mack Faragher. The American West: An Interpretive History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. 616 pp. Cloth $20. As new. ISBN 0-300-07833-1.
    Building on Hine’s earlier cultural-intellectual overview of the West, this revised version adds substantially through Faragher’s first-rate work in social history and on the nineteenth century. Exceptionally well written and very strong on the pre-1900 period.
  • Limerick, Patricia Nelson. The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1987. 396 pp. Paper. $9. Very good. ISBN 0-393-30497-3.
    The most important work of New Western history by the leader of the movement. No Patty Limerick, perhaps no New Western history. Written with verve and the interest-whetting draw of a first-rate journalist. Emphasizes the racism, environmental degradation, and settler cupidity that plagued western history from earliest contact with Indians to the present.
  • Milner, Clyde A., II, Carol A. O’Connor, and Martha Sandweiss, eds. The Oxford History of the American West. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. 872 pp. Cloth $20. As New. ISBN 0-19505968-9.
    A mammoth history of twenty-three chapters newly written by leading specialists in western history, this is a superb reference work and general history. Wonderfully illustrated and thorough in suggestions for further reading.
  • Pomeroy, Earl. The Pacific Slope: A History of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. 1965. 427 pp. Cloth $30.Very Good. ISBN 0-295-95295-4.
    The most interpretive of the western regional histories, Pomeroy’s analytical volume is particularly strong on the post-1900 era. Rather than emphasizing the West as a radical break from the East, as Frederick Jackson Turner did, Pomeroy stresses eastern continuities and carryovers in the West.
  • Turner, Frederick Jackson. The Early Writings of Frederick Jackson Turner. Ed. Everett E. Edwards. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1938. 316 pp. Cloth $40.Very Good.
    A collection of Turner’s essays from about 1890 to the 1920s, this anthology provides a thorough glimpse of the approaches, interpretations, and conclusions Turner utilized and advanced. An important gathering of the early works of probably the US’s most important historian and the father of western history.
  • White, Richard. “It’s Your Misfortune and None of My Own”: A History of the American West. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991. 644 pp. Cloth $24. Very Good.
    ISBN 0-8061-2366-4.
    A major work of the New Western history, White’s overview and interpretive textbook gave students of the American West a novel view of the region much at odds from the earlier Turner and Billington interpretations. Cerebral, analytical, and thorough, the book covers the history of the West from European entry up to the late twentieth century.

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In this issue: Fictional Wests: Two Recent Novels, Two Trails West, The Civil War In The American West, 10 Historical Overviews Of The American West and Lewis and Clark Books

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