Under Western Skies: Nature and History in the American West by Donald WorsterUnder Western Skies: Nature and History in the American West by Donald Worster

Under Western Skies: Nature and History in the American West

byDonald Worster

Paperback | September 1, 1982

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For decades, the story of the American West has been told as a glorious tale of conquest and rugged individualism--the triumph of progress. But recently, a new school of historians has challenged this view, creating what is known as the "new western history," an approach that gives a centralrole to the environment, native peoples, and the concentration of power in the hands of a few. Foremost among these historians is Donald Worster. In Worster's writings, the western past emerges not as a march of Manifest Destiny but rather as an unfolding relationship between humankind and nature. In Under Western Skies, Worster provides an eloquent introduction to the changing traditions of western historical writing and then demonstrates his own approach through fascinating case studies. For example, he takes a hard look at the struggle by the Lakota to regain ownership of the BlackHills, examining not only the legal history of treaties and court cases but also the importance of the Black Hills in Indian religion and the way they have been mismanaged by the U.S. government. He discusses the cowboy in terms of the new ecology that arose from livestock ranching--the endlessmiles of fences, the changes in the environment wrought by extensive grazing, certain species of animals almost wiped out because they were considered a danger to sheep and cattle. But Worster's view of nature is not as simple or as, linear as for instance, Bill McKibben's stark picture in The Endof Nature, a picture Worster argues against. From the mining ghost towns of the Rockies to the uprooted farm families of the Dust Bowl, nature sometimes wins the struggle. Even the Hoover Dam, he reminds us, may one day be overcome by the patient Colorado River. Under Western Skies both offers intriguing insights into important aspects of our history and instills a new appreciation for the place of nature, native peoples, and the struggles over money and power in the western past.
About the Author: Donald Worster is Hall Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of Kansas. He is the author of Dust Bowl, Rivers of Empire, and other works of history.
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Title:Under Western Skies: Nature and History in the American WestFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.68 inPublished:September 1, 1982Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195086716

ISBN - 13:9780195086713

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ns explore our environmental history, uncover the role of nature and the land in the western past, and examine the West as the world's first multicultural society.

Editorial Reviews

"It's a case of man and mountain matching one another: Donald Worster is one of the finest American historians of his generation, and John Wesley Powell one of the most impressive Americans of his time. This book is very readable, very thorough, and very welcome."--Larry McMurtry, author ofLONESOME DOVE, CRAZY HORSE, and ROADS