American West and History

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Beyond the Missouri: The Story of the American West

Richard W. Etulain

This new historical overview tells the dramatic story of the American West from its prehistory to the present. A narrative history, it covers the region from the North Dakota-to-Texas states to the Pacific Coast. This West has always been home to richly diverse cultural groups, including today's growing numbers of Indian, Hispanic, Asian and African Americans.

Other distinctions have marked the western past: first, the differences among prehistoric peoples and among hundreds of Indian tribes at first white contact; next, the varied western subcultures that emerged in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; third the social, cultural, and political complexities of the West in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

In Beyond the Missouri, Richard Etulain provides a fresh, balanced narrative of this geographically and culturally vast area and emphasizes two themes: change and complexity. His perspective is neither the too-optimistic, homogenized position of the Turnerian school of historians nor the less optimistic, conflicted approach of the revisionist western historians.
Etulain begins his study with a discussion of western landscapes and Native inhabitants. He next examines the Spanish Southwest, colonial rivalries, mountain men, missionaries, and the Oregon Trail. Then Etulain looks at Mormons, miners, western communities, ranching and farming, and transportation networks. He treats western frontier social patterns and cultures and contributes several chapters on the modern West, including the pre-World War II and the Cold War Wests. Etulain concludes with today's continuing search for an American West. Each of the fifteen chapters contains a helpful list of suggested readings.

"Richard Etulain has done a remarkable job in this major new book. He incorporates current research into a West-centered narrative, all the while being judicious in his interpretations. Beyond the Missouri is sure to have classroom appeal, but it will also attract readers interested in an engaging and lively narrative history of the West." - Elliott West, Alumni Distinguished Professor, University of Arkansas


Richard Etulain is professor emeritus of history at the University of New Mexico and the author or editor of more than forty books. Etulain lives in Clackamas, Oregon.


" excellent volume to get a feel for the vast panorama of western history....Reading this book is a pleasure..."


The Journal of America's Military Past

"In his handling of this full-scale history, Etulain mixes the common sense that he acquired as a kid on a stock ranch with his book learning."


True West

" addition to being solidly researched and well-written, Beyond the Missouri delivers two unexpected, but welcome, lessons about American history: (it) needn't be boring,...and it needn't come with the typical does of revisionist academic politics."


Durango Herald

"...a thought-provoking, informative, up-to-date survey of western history from prehistoric times to the present that also happens to be a page-turner."


Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

" up-to-date, lively and objective survey of western American history."


Utah Historical Quarterly

"...readable and well-organized... a particularly useful text for upper division undergraduate history classes."


Southern California Quarterly

"...a balanced and comprehensive history of the American West."


Great Plains Quarterly

"...(a) delightful book...(Etulain) writes boldly and gracefully...a must read for all who love the history of the American West."


Annals of Wyoming

7 x 10 in. 480 pages 61 halftones, 27 maps, 2 charts