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The New Encyclopedia of the American West

Lamar, Howard R.

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ISBN 10: 0300070888 / ISBN 13: 9780300070880
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The New Encyclopedia of the American West

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: HRD

Book Condition:New

About this title


The American West is an evocative term that conjures up images of cowboys and Indians, covered wagons, sheriffs and outlaws, and endless prairies as well as contemporary images ranging from national parks to the oil, aerospace, and film industries. In addition, the West encompasses not only the past and present of the area west of the Mississippi but also the frontier as it moved across each of the fifty American states, offering the promise of freedom and a better life to pioneers and settlers in every era. This authoritative, comprehensive, and lavishly illustrated single-volume encyclopedia is a rich source of information about these many American West, real and imaginary, old and new, stretching from coast to coast and throughout the country’s history and culture.
The encyclopedia, a thoroughly revised and expanded version of Howard Lamar’s acclaimed twenty-year-old Reader’s Encyclopedia of the American West, consists of more than 2,400 entries in alphabetical order by more than 300 contributors, along with over 600 illustrations and maps (four times more than in the original edition). The book includes articles by such authorities as Leonard J. Arrington on Mormonism, Anne Butler on prisons and prostitutes, John Mack Faragher on the fur trade, California, and television and radio westerns, Martha Sandweiss on photography, and Ron Tyler on western prints.
Among the other topics covered are:

the formative period of each state;

the diplomacy of American expansion;

important discoverers and mountain men;

major Native American tribes, their leaders, and culture;

pivotal women such as Sacagawea, Annie Oakley, and Willa Cather;

African Americans, Asian Americans, and Mexican Americans on the western frontier;

novelists, artists, and filmmakers and the real and fictional people they turned into mythic heroes or villains;

politicians from Benjamin Franklin to Ronald Reagan;

major cities and landmarks;

and conservation and wildlife issues.
The West continues to be a symbol of both America’s frontier past and its troubled future. This book is an indispensable introduction to its endlessly fascinating story.


Did you know that when Annie Oakley was not performing her sharp-shooting skills, she preferred a quiet Quaker lifestyle and an embroidery needle to a rifle? That gunman John Wesley Hardin killed more people than either Jesse James or Billy the Kid? Or that Frederick Law Olmsted was once commissioned to manage the Yosemite Valley and was instrumental in the national-park movement? The New Encyclopedia of the American West is full of such interesting information. This weighty volume, compiled by Sterling Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University Howard R. Lamar, contains over 2,400 entries by more than 300 contributors on all aspects of the American West, from prehistory to the present. Types of entries include brief biographical sketches of important men and women, extensive descriptions of the physiogeography of the continent, pieces on art and literature of the West, and histories of the area's transportation systems. Over 600 illustrations and maps complement the text and help make this book a joy to read. Lamar provides a brief timeline of Western history to help put things in perspective, and the individual entries are extensively cross-referenced. A detailed index provides a comprehensive list of every person mentioned in the book, and most articles provide bibliographic citations to point the interested reader to further sources. The tone of the book is authoritative yet accessible--and refreshingly jargon-free. So whether you're interested in Sacajawea, Sasquatch, or Santa Fe, The New Encyclopedia of the American West will please scholar and casual reader alike. --C.B. Delaney

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