Walter Prescott Webb Great Frontier

ISBN 13: 9780292727069

Great Frontier

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First published in 1951, The Great Frontier has become one of the undisputed classics of Western history, its conclusions still hotly debated by scholars but nonetheless essential and engrossing reading for anyone who wishes to understand the history and significance of this vast and often puzzling region. The final work of pioneer Western historian Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Frontier represents a daring attempt to interpret the settlement of the American West in the global context of the expansion of European civilization between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries. According to Webb's "boom hypothesis," the expansion of Europe's "Great Frontier" into the Western Hemisphere energized a static society and made possible the development of such fundamental institutions of the modern era as individualism capitalism, and political democracy. Webb contends that the closing of the global frontier at the end of the nineteenth century, with the end of easily available empty land and readily exploited natural resources, was responsible for the crises and violence of the twentieth century and boded ill for the future of the United States's treasured democracy. An insightful new introduction by Western historian William D. Rowley sets Webb's masterwork into the context of its own time and outlines the relevance of this still-controversial work for twenty-first-century readers.

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About the Author:

Walter Prescott Webb (1888-1963) wrote or edited more than twenty books including "The Great Plains," "Divided We Stand," and "The Texas Rangers." He taught at the University of Texas, the University of London, and at Oxford University. Although Webb's work sparked controversy and sharp criticism, it inspired new thinking about the role of regionalism in the nation's history.

Review:

"[Walter Prescott Webb] writes interestingly about large problems, the solution of which should help mankind to understand its past and assist in formulating more socially desirable public and private policies. He is blessed with both a bold mind and a brilliant pen, two assets that have raised him to a position of respect among members of the profession to which he belongs. In [The Great Frontier] Mr. Webb attempts to interpret the history of Western culture from 1500 to the present in terms of the expansion of Europe overseas. Although this theme is not new... it has never before been treated in such a grand manner and with the same points of emphasis as in the present volume." - New York Times Book Review

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Webb, Walter Prescott
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