By William Deverell
A spouse to the yankee West is a rigorous, illuminating creation to the heritage of the yankee West. Twenty-five essays by way of professional students synthesize the simplest and so much provocative paintings within the box and supply a complete review of topics and historiography.
- Covers the tradition, politics, and setting of the yank West via sessions of migration, payment, and modernization
- Discusses local americans and their conflicts and integration with American settlers
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Additional resources for A Companion to the American West
These newer works, however, are teasers that emphasize how much is left to learn when boundaries are eroded and economic history is enlivened by other perspectives. As a case in point, consider the literature on the West’s unifying industry – transportation. It was triply important to western development. As a major employer it pulled vast amounts of capital into the region; it directly encouraged many “spinoff” industries such as timber; indirectly it was arguably the ultimate stimulant of other industries requiring some connection to the world beyond.
For Smith, the economic conquest of the West was driven by the peculiar expectations and illusions of what we call, a bit condescendingly, popular culture. Looking back over the half century since his book appeared, his great accomplishment was to show us how to treat seriously the expressions of popular culture and how to explore the continuing exchanges between those expressions and their historical setting. Richard Slotkin’s trilogy on myth and the frontier – Regeneration Through Violence (1973), The Fatal Environment (1985), and Gunfighter Nation (1992) – is the most notable among shelves of books that have followed Smith’s lead.
Among the more important, and most emblematic, enterprises of the nineteenth-century West was the fur trade. Its chief practitioner, the mountain man, has stood tall in the popular view of the West as a misfit, social isolate, and man on the fringe. In 1963 William Goetzmann considered the personal trajectories of these characters, set the results in the context of prevailing social values and economic attitudes, and argued that this view was precisely backwards. Mountain thinking west 33 men were amplified expressions of Jacksonian America, he wrote.
A Companion to the American West by William Deverell