The American West

A New Interpretive History

Robert V. Hine and John Mack Faragher

View Inside Price: $35.00

January 11, 2000
632 pages, 7 x 10
150 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300078350

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Two eminent historians, Robert V. Hine and John Mack Faragher, present the American West as both frontier and region, real and imagined, old and new, and they show how men and women of all ethnic groups were affected when different cultures met and clashed. Their concise and engaging survey of frontier history traces the story from the first Columbian contacts between Indians and Europeans to the multicultural encounters of the modern Southwest.

The book attunes us to the voices of the frontier’s many diverse peoples: Indians, struggling to defend their homelands and searching for a way to live with colonialism; the men and women who became immigrants and colonists from all over the world; African Americans, both slave and free; and borderland migrants from Mexico, Canada, and Asian lands. Profusely illustrated with contemporary drawings, posters, and photographs and written in lively and accessible prose, the book not only presents a panoramic view of historical events and characters but also provides fascinating details about such topics as western landscapes, environmental movements, literature, visual arts, and film.

Following in the tradition of Hine’s earlier acclaimed work, The American West: An Interpretive History, this volume will be an essential resource for scholars, students, and general readers.

Robert V. Hine is professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Riverside and Irvine. John Mack Faragher, Arthur Unobskey Professor of American History at Yale University, is author of Sugar Creek: Life on the Illinois Prairie and Women and Men on the Overland Trail.

A selection of the History Book Club

“A strong, readable, and wide-ranging book.”--Elizabeth Jameson, University of New Mexico

“The authors have a superb eye for telling details and quotations. Much has been done to incorporate a multi-angled perspective and bring in material on women’s, ethnic, and environmental history. This is a very fine book.”--Elliott West, University of Arkansas

"For an illustration of what’s happened in the past generation, one probably can’t do better than Robert V. Hine and John Mack Faragher’s The American West: A New Interpretive History."—Peter Schrag, American Prospect

"A fine combination of the new and old, interpretation and personalization, and stylistic readability. . . . [A] major work."—Robert M. Utley, Austin American-Statesman

"In their superbly written work, [Hine and Faragher] have synthesized the traditional and revisionist approaches to the West. . . . They describe with insight and compassion the variety of peoples who inhabited these regions; the inevitable conflict with settlers and a government that wavered between contempt and misguided compassion is shown as both tragic and, occasionally, oddly heroic. They have done a masterful job of bringing a sense of fairness and perspective to a region and a saga that remain part of our national mythology."—Booklist

"Hine and Faragher deserve kudos for this revised edition of their book The American West. It is well written, amply illustrated, and liberally sprinkled with thought-provoking quotations from historians as well as from men and women who made the west. . . . [A] highly readable and informative book. It should please western aficionados and prove useful to undergraduate courses in western history."—Choice

"Don’t be put off by the book’s girth or by the university press imprint. This scholarly tome contains plenty of anecdotes, illustrations and cultural asides to engage even the most casual reader. It should further enhance the legendary ethos of a geographic region that needs little embellishment."—Alan Miller, Detroit News

"This is flat out the best, most inclusive, least partisan textbook on Western American history available to contemporary professionals and the general public. . . . This book is something of an anomaly too: a textbook that is actually compelling to read. . . . It is comprehensive and capacious in its sweep—incorporating a great deal of important new scholarship on gender, the environment, ethnicity, and Native Americans—generous in detail, replete with superb photos, maps , and images, and, most refreshingly, judicious and circumspect in its inclusion of the strident historiographical debates with which the field has been encumbered in the recent past. . . . The American West is likely to become the standard in the field for many years."—Keith Edgerton, Great Plains Quarterly

"This important volume, by two of western history’s most notable scholars, should be of interest to all students of the American West."—Kansas History

"Hine and Faragher present a panorama of decisive events and culture clashes in western history. . . . An immense regional history that takes the time for a representative sample of the millions of smaller stories behind the building of a great nation." —Kirkus Reviews

"[Hine and Faragher] have come out with a new edition of Hine's very well received The American West; An Interpretive History. The text is a survey of the American West or frontier, broadly defined and examined from many levels. . . . This work will be widely used in classes on the American frontier and West and is highly recommended for academic and public libraries."—Library Journal

"In a stirring and enlightening reexamination of the American West, [Hine and Faragher] gauge the impact of key trends and events—the American Revolution, the multiethnic Gold Rush, the 1867 purchase of Russian America, the U.S.-Mexican War, the New Deal, etc. —in shaping the West's socioeconomic development. The American West of legend, brimming with ruggedly individualistic cowboys, intrepid pioneers and gunslingers, scarcely exists in this myth-shattering history. The real West was and continues to be a land of immigrants and of conflicting and melding cultures. . . . A substantial revision and update of standard history, this gripping, wonderfully accessible populist saga deserves a place on the shelf alongside the works of Howard Zinn, William Appleman Williams, and Ronald Takaki."—Publishers Weekly ( A Starred Review)

"It is the authors’ attention to the people who shaped the historical experience—not the leaders, but the everyday Americans—that sets this book apart. . . . [Hine and Faragher] incorporate overlooked voices into this sweeping history—female park rangers, Chinese railroad workers and even Juan Cortina, known as the Tejano Robin Hood, who operated in the Rio Grande Valley before the Civil War."—Russell Gold, San Antonio Express-News

"The book is elegantly written, brims with telling details and choice anecdotes, and is simply illustrated with a fine selection of images. Taken as a whole, Hine and Faragher succeed admirably in providing a unified interpretation of Western American history that recognizes the need to acknowledge and ameliorate legacies of conquest in the West, while looking optimistically towards the future."—Martin Padgett, Times Literary Supplement

"This volume is an ideal choice for an undergraduate college text. Modern in their outlook, yet respectful of the earliest French, Spanish, and fur trade frontiers of the West, Hine and Faragher have written not only the most up-to-date survey of westward expansion, they have done it with style and lively prose."—Robert C. Carriker, Western Historical Quarterly

"Both books should certainly help historians fill in whatever gaps they may have about their own understanding of western American history and, by doing so, develop a better, more inclusive, explanation of American history for their students. For that reason alone, it would be easy to bring this essay to a conclusion with straightforward endorsement: Buy them both, use them frequently."—Gregory H. Nobles, William and Mary Quarterly

Winner of the 2000 Western Heritage Award in the non-fiction category

Winner of the 2001 Caughey Western History Association Prize
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