Western Americana
Featured Items
The Real American Cowboy
The Real American Cowboy
Paperback      ISBN: 0941533271

No figure has contributed as much to American culture as that of the cowboy. Describing American dreams and values as seen through the cowboy image, Jack Weston contrasts that image with reality: the hardworking rider who had to fight not only the elements but his employer in order to make a slender living. The Real American Cowboy is a fascinating account of real life in the Wild West-not glamorous as in the movies, but full of the excitement of a hard and dangerous trade. The very special treatment of the cowboy image in nineteenth-century journalism and the dime novel, and in the twentieth-century media as well, explains the growth of the cowboy myth and its effect on America's goals and assumptions. In analyzing the differences between the myth and the historical reality, this book offers an important new assessment of the Western-and the West-in fiction, film, and in life.

Buffalo Bill's America: William Cody and the Wild West Show
Buffalo Bill's America
William Cody and the Wild West Show
Hardcover      ISBN: 0375412166

William Cody (1846--1917), a.k.a. Buffalo Bill, was the most famous American of his age. A child of the frontier Great Plains, Cody was renowned as a Pony Express rider, prospector, trapper, Civil War soldier, professional buffalo hunter, Indian fighter, cavalry scout, horseman, dime-novel hero, and actor. But Buffalo Bill's greatest success was as impresario of the Wild West show, the traveling company of cowboys, Indians, Mexican vaqueros, and others, numbering in the hundreds, with which he toured North America and Europe for more than three decades. As Louis S. Warren reveals, the show company came to represent America itself, its dazzling mix of races sprung from a frontier past, welded into a thrilling performance, and making their way through the world via the modern technologies of railroad, portable electrical generator, telephones, and brilliantly colored publicity-an entrancing vision of the frontier-born, newly mechanized, polyglot United States in the Gilded Age.
Biographers have long disputed whether Cody was a hero or a charlatan. As Warren shows, the question already preoccupied critics and spectators during Cody's own lifetime. In fact, the savvy entertainer encouraged the dispute by mingling fictional exploits with his not inconsiderable achievements to construct the persona of an ideal frontiersman, a figure who was more controversial than has been commonly understood. At the same time, his show provided a means for rural westerners, including cowboys, cowgirls, and especially Lakota Sioux Indians, to claim a new future for themselves by reenacting a version of the past.
The most comprehensive critical biography of William Cody in more than forty years, "Buffalo Bill's America" places America's most renowned showman in the context of his cultural worlds in the Far West, in the East, and in Europe. A rich and revealing biography and social history of an American cultural icon.

The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West
The Pioneers
The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West
Hardcover      ISBN: 1501168681
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story--the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would come to define our country.

As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River.

McCullough tells the story through five major characters: Cutler and Putnam; Cutler's son Ephraim; and two other men, one a carpenter turned architect, and the other a physician who became a prominent pioneer in American science. They and their families created a town in a primeval wilderness, while coping with such frontier realities as floods, fires, wolves and bears, no roads or bridges, no guarantees of any sort, all the while negotiating a contentious and sometimes hostile relationship with the native people. Like so many of McCullough's subjects, they let no obstacle deter or defeat them.

Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. This is a revelatory and quintessentially American story, written with David McCullough's signature narrative energy.
The Custer Reader
The Custer Reader
Hardcover      ISBN: 080322351x

An introduction to General Custer combines first-person narratives, scholarly articles, photographic essays, and original contributions

Where Two Worlds Meet: The Great Lakes Fur Trade
Where Two Worlds Meet
The Great Lakes Fur Trade
Paperback      ISBN: 0873511565

Inspired by an exhibit of artifacts from the fur trade of the 1700s, this fascinating and attractive catalog includes a history of the fur trade and essays on various aspects of the early cross-cultural contacts between Indians and whites. Photos of tools, clothing, and trade items shown in the exhibit are accompanied by beautiful reproductions of eighteenth-century paintings and drawings, some in color.

A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn - The Last Great Battle of the American West
A Terrible Glory
Custer and the Little Bighorn - The Last Great Battle of the American West
Paperback      ISBN: 0316067474
A rousing and meticulously researched account of the notorious Battle of Little Big Horn and its unforgettable cast of characters from Sitting Bull to Custer himself.

In June of 1876, on a desolate hill above a winding river called "the Little Bighorn," George Armstrong Custer and all 210 men under his direct command were annihilated by almost 2,000 Sioux and Cheyenne. The news of this devastating loss caused a public uproar, and those in positions of power promptly began to point fingers in order to avoid responsibility. Custer, who was conveniently dead, took the brunt of the blame.

The truth, however, was far more complex. A Terrible Glory is the first book to relate the entire story of this endlessly fascinating battle, and the first to call upon all the significant research and findings of the past twenty-five years -- which have changed significantly how this controversial event is perceived. Furthermore, it is the first book to bring to light the details of the U.S. Army cover-up -- and unravel one of the greatest mysteries in U.S. military history.

Scrupulously researched, A Teribble Glory will stand as a landmark work. Brimming with authentic detail and an unforgettable cast of characters -- from Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse to Ulysses Grant and Custer himself -- this is history with the sweep of a great novel.
Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West
Blood and Thunder
An Epic of the American West
Paperback      ISBN: 1400031109

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.

Bandits
Bandits
Paperback      ISBN: 0394748506

The motives and social provocations behind the legendary exploits of bandits who have become folk heroes throughout the world are discussed in this historic survey

The Checkered Years: A Bonanza Farm Diary, 1884-88
The Checkered Years
A Bonanza Farm Diary, 1884-88
Paperback      ISBN: 0873512375

Mary Dodge Woodward, a fifty-six-year-old widow, moved from Wisconsin with her two grown sons and a daughter to a 1,500-acre bonanza wheat farm in Dakota Territory's Red River valley in 1882. For five years she recorded the yearly farm cycle of plowing and harvesting as well as the frustrations of gardening and raising chickens, the phenomenon of mirages on the plains, the awesome blizzard of 1888, her reliance on her family, and her close relationship with her daughter. She noted "blots, mistakes, joys, and sorrows" in her "olf friend." This Borealis edition brings back to print a valuable record of a frontier woman's life.

The Colonel's Lady on the Western Frontier: The Correspondence of Alice Kirk Grierson
The Colonel's Lady on the Western Frontier
The Correspondence of Alice Kirk Grierson
Paperback      ISBN: 0803279299

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.