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The American West

The American West

Dee Brown is most renowned for authoring the all-time bestselling book on the West, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which has sold more than 5,000,000 copies in English and has had countless translations the world over. This was the first fully realized, sympathetic history of Native Americans and became an immediate classic.

Here, now, is The American West, a brilliant account of America's most famous drama. By centering solely on three subjects, Native Americans, settlers, and ranchers, Brown effortlessly re-creates these groups' struggles for their place in this new landscape and illuminates the history of the old West. Beginning with the demise of the Native Americans of the Plains, Brown depicts the onrush of the burgeoning cattle trade and the waves of immigrants who ultimately "settled" the land. In the retelling of this oft-told saga, Brown has demonstrated once again his abilities as a master storyteller and an entertaining popular historian.

By turns heroic, tragic, and even humorous, The American West brings to life American tragedy and triumph in the years from 1840 to the turn of the century, and a roster of characters both great and small: Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Dull Knife, Crazy Horse, Captain Jack, John H. Tunstall, Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, Wyatt Earp, the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, Wild Bill Hickok, Charles Goodnight, Oliver Loving, Buffalo Bill, and many others.

The American West is about cattle and the railroads; it is about settlers who came to claim a land not originally their own and how they slowly imposed law and order on these wild and untamed places; and it is about the wanton destruction of the Native American way of life. This is epic history at its best and popular history at its most readable.

This new work is culled from Dee Brown's highly acclaimed writings, which instantly established him as one of America's foremost Western authorities. Fully revised, rewritten, and edited into one seamless account of America's most famous frontier, this epic narrative, along with the introduction and a chronological table of events, etches an unforgettable and poignant portrait. The American West is at once a tribute to the West and a majestic new peak for a writer whose long and successful career has been synonymous with excellence in frontier history.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 448 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439125564 | 
  • May 2010
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Westward March

"Thare is good land on the Massura for a poar mans home."

This theme, penned in an 1838 letter from Arkansas to Tennessee, appears with its variations as the moving spirit of western migration. The frontiersman who scrawled out the good news from the banks of the White River probably had no conception of the wide reach of land between his few acres and the Pacific shore. He dreamed no dream of empire. His eye was on the good land he had found, where a "poar man" could prosper.

To settlers on the bottom lands of the great midwestern rivers and on the forested fringes of the Great Plains,... see more

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