A magnificent history of the American conquest of the West; a story full of authority and color, truth and prophecy (The New York Times Book Review).In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Fueled by the new ideology of "Manifest Destiny," this land grab would lead to a decades-long battle between the United States and the Navajos, the fiercely resistant rulers of a huge swath of mountainous desert wilderness.
At the center of this sweeping tale is Kit Carson, the trapper, scout, and soldier whose adventures made him a legend. Sides shows us how this illiterate mountain man understood and respected the Western tribes better than any other American, yet willingly followed orders that would ultimately devastate the Navajo nation. Rich in detail and spanning more than three decades, this is an essential addition to our understanding of how the West was really won.
From a rediscovered collection of autobiographical accounts written by hundreds of Kansas pioneer women in the early twentieth century, Joanna Stratton has created a collection hailed by Newsweek as "uncommonly interesting" and "a remarkable distillation of primary sources."Never before has there been such a detailed record of women's courage, such a living portrait of the women who civilized the American frontier. Here are their stories: wilderness mothers, schoolmarms, Indian squaws, immigrants, homesteaders, and circuit riders. Their personal recollections of prairie fires, locust plagues, cowboy shootouts, Indian raids, and blizzards on the plains vividly reveal the drama, danger and excitement of the pioneer experience. These were women of relentless determination, whose tenacity helped them to conquer loneliness and privation. Their work was the work of survival, it demanded as much from them as from their men--and at last that partnership has been recognized. "These voices are haunting" (The New York Times Book Review), and they reveal the special heroism and industriousness of pioneer women as never before.
Dusty road shoot outs, roaming buffalo, bar brawls, gold, tragedy and genocide, damsels in distress, and cowboys riding off into the sunset--the taming of the Western frontier is one of the most colorful and fascinating periods of American history. In this beautifully illustrated and comprehensive book, Bruce Wexler brings the ruggedness of the old American West to life. The Wild West separates fact from the fiction, exposing the myths of the old West, and assesses its cultural impact on the indigenous people, American life, and the American dream--both past and present.
On February 25, 1837, a small casket was inscribed with the names of three men. Nearly a year after the devastating Battle of the Alamo, the ashes of David Crockett, James Bowie and William Barrett Travis were combined for posterity. But just as that casket probably doesn't hold the ashes of any of the three, time and myth has largely obscured the true story of their lives.William C. Davis separates truth from fiction in Three Roads to the Alamo. In many ways, the three men symbolized the types of people who pushed European migration west of the Mississippi. Crockett was an explorer who constantly sought out new horizons. Bowie was an entrepreneur who knew how to exploit the new land for profit. And Bowie symbolized the law makers and town builders who established settled communities. Drawing on extensive research carried out in the United States and Mexico, Davis entwines three biographies into one compelling tale of how these men came to be at the Alamo on the day of the fateful battle. Three Roads to the Alamo is a riveting tale that proves reality is much more interesting than myth. William C. Davis is the author or editor of thirty-five books on the civil war and southern history, including A Way Through the Wilderness, "A Government of Our Own " The Making of a Confederacy, and the prizewinning biography Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour. For many years a magazine publisher, Davis now divides his time between writing and consulting for book publishers and television. " Davis's] interwoven accounts create a vivid picture of new worlds being shaped and of the kinds of men who did the shaping, even -- or especially -- in death." -- New York Times Book Review
The modern woman who tries to juggle private and public roles with equilibrium will discover a spiritual ancestor in Alice Kirk Grierson. The colonel's lady spent most of her life at army outposts on the nineteenth-century western frontier, where she faced the problems of raising a large family while fulfilling the duties of a commanding officer's wife. Fortunately for history, she left a large and extraordinarily candid correspondence, which has now been edited by Shirley Anne Leckie.
Alice was the wife of Benjamin B. Grierson, a major general in the Civil War who won fame for a raid that contributed to the fall of Vicksburg. Her letters begin in 1866, when her husband reentered the army as colonel of the legendary buffalo soldiers of the Tenth Cavalry, and end with her death in 1888. During these years she chronicles the criticism experienced by her husband in commanding one of the army's two black mounted regiments and the frustration when he is repeatedly passed over for promotion, in part because he advocated a more humane Indian policy. All the while her position requires her to assume heavy responsibilities as a hostess. Her letters are just as unflinching in describing the daily hard-ships of raising a family at frontier posts like Forts Riley, Gibson, Sill, Concho, Davis, and Grant, where two of her seven children died young and two suffered from manic-depressive psychosis. They are extraordinary for their insight into nineteenth-century attitudes toward birth control, childbearing, marital roles, race relations, and mental illness.
In this brilliant biography T. J. Stiles offers a new understanding of the legendary outlaw Jesse James. Although he has often been portrayed as a Robin Hood of the old west, in this ground-breaking work Stiles places James within the context of the bloody conflicts of the Civil War to reveal a much more complicated and significant figure.Raised in a fiercely pro-slavery household in bitterly divided Misssouri, at age sixteen James became a bushwhacker, one of the savage Confederate guerrillas that terrorized the border states. After the end of the war, James continued his campaign of robbery and murder into the brutal era of reconstruction, when his reckless daring, his partisan pronouncements, and his alliance with the sympathetic editor John Newman Edwards placed him squarely at the forefront of the former Confederates' bid to recapture political power. With meticulous research and vivid accounts of the dramatic adventures of the famous gunman, T. J. Stiles shows how he resembles not the apolitical hero of legend, but rather a figure ready to use violence to command attention for a political cause--in many ways, a forerunner of the modern terrorist.