In 1848 news of the discovery of gold in California triggered an enormous wave of emigration toward the Pacific. Lured by the promise of riches, thousands of settlers left behind the forests, rain, and fertile soil of the eastern United States in favor of the rough-hewn lands of the American West. The dramatic terrain they struggled to cross is so familiar to us now that it is hard to imagine how frightening—even godforsaken—its sheer rock faces and barren deserts seemed to our forebears.
Hard Road West brings their perspective vividly to life, weaving together the epic overland journey of the covered wagon trains and the compelling story of the landscape they encountered. Taking readers along the 2,000-mile California Trail, Keith Meldahl uses the diaries and letters of the settlers themselves—as well as the countless hours he has spent following the trail—to reveal how the geology and geography of the West directly affected our nation’s westward expansion. He guides us through a corrugated landscape of sawtooth mountains, following the meager streams that served as lifelines through an arid land, all the way to California itself, where colliding tectonic plates created breathtaking scenery and planted the gold that lured travelers west in the first place.
“Alternates seamlessly between vivid accounts of the 19th-century journey and lucid explanations of the geological events that shaped the landscape traveled. . . . The reader comes away with both an appreciation for the arduous cross-continental wagon journey and an understanding of the events that created such a vast and difficult landscape.”—Library Journal
“[Meldahl] draws on his professional knowledge to explain the geology of the West, showing how centuries of geological activity had a direct effect on the routes taken by the travelers. . . . Meldahl provides a novel account of the largest overland migration since the Crusades.”—Science News
Disenchanted with biomedicine and dismayed by its cost, increasing numbers of people are seeking alternative therapies such as the healing plants discussed in this book. Plant medicine is a billion-dollar business: health food stores, small yerberias, and even giant grocery store chains carry hundreds of medicinal herbs. By one estimate, up to one-third of the U.S. population uses alternative medicine—generally in addition to conventional therapy and commonly without telling their doctors. The heart of this volume is a complete description of 100 plants commonly used today, often for the same purposes reported by chroniclers of the Aztecs or eighteenth-century European explorers. Information for each plant includes botanical and common plant names, history, contemporary uses, a description of how the plant is prepared and administered, and brief phytochemical data. Discussions of folk efficacy and folk properties—beliefs in how and why the herb heals—help to explain the continued use of each plant into the present day. Are any of these plants dangerous, and do any of them really work? Where did they come from, and where are they available now? How can health-care practitioners gain the confidence of their patients to learn whether they are using alternative medicines for specific illnesses, symptoms, or injuries? Perhaps most intriguing, which of these plants might be waiting to take the place of known antibiotics as pathological organisms become increasingly resistant to modern miracle drugs? Answers to these and other questions will pique the interest of general readers and will be an invaluable resource for health-care providers—especially nurses and other primary-care providers, who often must find an interface between biomedical and more traditional therapies. For all readers, the book opens a window into many ethnic cultures of the region—Mexican American communities, desert Pima, coastal Seri, and others. Here is the fascinating saga of how their healing plants from prehistoric times melded with Old World herbs brought by the Europeans to create the unique pharmacopoeia available today here and in other parts of the world. Plants included:
Acacia (Cassie, Acacia)
Agastache (Giant Hyssop)
Agave (Century Plant)
Allium (Garlic, Onion)
Anemopsis (Yerba Mansa)
Arctostaphylos (Bearberry, Uva Ursi)
Argemone (Prickly Poppy)
Aristolochia (Bithwort, Snakeroot)
Artemisia (Wormwood, Mugwort, Western Mugwort, Sagebrush)
Baccharis (Desert Broom, Seep Willow)
Bocconia (Tree Celandine)
Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
Bursera (Elephant Tree)
Caesalpinia (Mexican Bird-of-Paradise)
Chenopodium (Goosefoot, Wormseed)
Citrus (Lemon, Lime, Orange)
Datura (Jimson Weed)
Ephedra (Mormon Tea)
Eryngium (Eryngo, Button Snakeroot)
Gnaphalium (Everlasting, Cudweed)
Guaiacum (Lignum Vitae)
Gutierrezia (Turpentine Bush)
Heterotheca (Telegraph Plant, Falso Arnica)
Ibervillea (Coyote Melon)
Kohleria (Tree Gloxinia)
Larrea (Creosote Bush, Greasewood)
Mammillaria (Pincushion Cactus)
Opuntia (Cholla, Prickly Pear)
The American West has taken on a rich and evocative array of regional identities since the late nineteenth century. Wilderness wonderland, Hispanic borderland, homesteader’s frontier, cattle kingdom, urban dynamo, Native American homeland. Hell of a Vision explores the evolution of these diverse identities during the twentieth century, revealing how Western regionalism has been defined by generations of people seeking to understand the West’s vast landscapes and varied cultures.
Focusing on the American West from the 1890s up to the present, Dorman provides us with a wide-ranging view of the impact of regionalist ideas in pop culture and diverse fields such as geography, land-use planning, anthropology, journalism, and environmental policy-making.
Going well beyond the realm of literature, Dorman broadens the discussion by examining a unique mix of texts. He looks at major novelists such as Cather, Steinbeck, and Stegner, as well as leading Native American writers. But he also analyzes a variety of nonliterary sources in his book, such as government reports, planning documents, and environmental impact studies.
Hell of a Vision is a compelling journey through the modern history of the American West—a key region in the nation of regions known as the United States.
When he started taking paying passengers by boat through the rapids of the Colorado River's canyons, Norman Nevills invented whitewater tourism and the commercial river business. For twelve years, from 1938 until his death in a plane crash in 1949, he safely took, without a single life lost, friends, explorers, and customers down the Colorado, Green, San Juan, Salmon, and Snake Rivers in boats he designed. National media found him and his adventures irresistible and turned him into the personification of river running. Logging seven trips through the Grand Canyon when no one else had completed more than two, he was called the Fast Water Man. Boatmen he trained went on to found their own competing operations. Always controversial, Nevills had important critics and enemies as well as friends and supporters, but no one can dispute his tremendous impact on the history of western rivers and recreation.
Nevills's complete extant journals of those river expeditions are published for the first time in High, Wide, and Handsome. They contain vivid stories and images of still untamed-by-dams rivers and canyons in the Colorado River system and elsewhere, of wild rides in wooden boats, and of the few intrepid pioneers of adventure tourism who paid Nevills so they could experience it all. They have been transcribed and edited by river historian Roy Webb, author of If We Had a Boat: Green River Explorers, Adventurers, and Runners and Call of the
Historic Sites and Markers
is an indispensable guide for travelers who wish to retrace the various frontier
routes taken by the Mormons and other pioneers in their treks westward. Traversing
fifteen states from New York to California, Stanley Kimball presents some of
America's most famous trails--the Mormon, the Oregon-California, the Santa Fe,
the Overland, and many others--and describes important points of interest, including
forts, trail centers, and museums.
"An important contribution
to the history of the West and perhaps the most comprehensive mile-by-mile guide
to trail markers and historical sites ever prepared."
-- Brigham D. Madsen, author of The Shoshoni Frontier and the Bear River Massacre
Volume 3, Life Writings of Frontier Women series, ed. Maureen Ursenbach Beecher
In her memoir, and 1870s revision of her journal and diary, Louisa Barnes Pratt tells of childhood in Massachusetts and Canada during the War of 1812, and independent career as a teacher and seamstress in New England, and her marriage to the Boston seaman Addison Pratt.
Converting to the LDS Church, the Pratts moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, from where Brigham Young sent Addison on the first of the long missions to the Society Islands that would leave Louisa on her own. As a sole available parent, she hauled her children west to Winter Quarters, to Utah in 1848, to California, and, in Addison's wake, to Tahiti in 1850.
The Pratts joined the Mormon colony at San Bernardino, California. When in 1858 a federal army's march on Utah led to the colonists' recall, Addision—alienated from the Mormon Church after long absences—chose not to go. Mostly separated thereafter (Addison died in 1872), Louisa settled in Beaver, Utah, where she campaigned for women's rights, contributed to the Woman's Exponent, and depended on her own means, as she had much of her life, until her death in 1880.
Part economic history, part public history, A History of Mortgage Banking in the West is an insider’s account of how the mortgage banking sector worked over the last 150 years, including analysis of the causes of the 2007 mortgage crisis. Beginning with the land and railroad development acts that encouraged settlement in the west, E. Michael Rosser and Diane M. Sanders trace the laws, institutions, and individuals that contributed to the economic growth of the region.
Using Colorado and the west as a case study for the nation’s economic and property development as a whole since the late nineteenth century, Rosser and Sanders explain how farm mortgages and agricultural lending steadily gave way to urban development and housing mortgages, all while the large mortgage and investment firms financed the development of some of the state’s most important water resources and railroad networks. Rosser uses his personal experience as a lifelong practitioner and educator of mortgage banking, along with a plethora of primary sources, academic archives, and industry publications, to analyze the causes of economic booms and busts as they relate to real estate and development.
Rosser’s professional acumen combined with Sanders’s research experience makes A History of Mortgage Banking in the West a rich and nuanced account of the region’s most significant economic events. It will be an important work for scholars and practitioners in regional and financial history, mortgage market practice and development, government housing and mortgage policy, and financial stability and of great significance to anyone curious about the role of the federal government in national housing policy and the inherent risk in mortgages.
In this meticulously researched study of Basque boardinghouses in the United States, Jeronima Echeverria offers a compelling history of the institution that most deeply shaped Basque immigrant life and served as the center of Basque communities throughout the West. She weaves into her narrative the stories of the boarding house owners and operators and the ways they made their establishments a home away from home for their fellow compatriots, as well as the stories of the young Basques who left the security of their beloved homeland to find work in the United States.
In a chilling scene in the film Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood as the gunman stands over a wounded Gene Hackman, the sheriff, aiming a rifle at his head. "I don't deserve this, to die like this," says Hackman. Eastwood replies, "Deserve's got nothing to do with it," cocks his rifle, and fires point blank at his helpless victim.
This scenario dramatically brings home to the viewer what historians have long debated and hundreds of other films and books suggest: the turn-of-the-century West was a violent time and place. Ranchers, miners, deputy sheriffs, teenagers and old men, occasionally even housewives and mothers found themselves at the business end of a shotgun or a .38 revolver. Yet, since western historians tend to portray violence as essentially episodic--frontier gunfights, range wars, vigilante movements, and the like--solid data has been hard to come by.
As a beginning point for actually measuring lethal violence and assessing the administration of justice, here at last is a detailed and well-documented study of homicide in the American West. Comparing data from representative areas--Douglas County, Nebraska; Las Animas County, Colorado; and Gila County, Arizona--this book reveals a level of violence far greater than many historians have believed, even surpassing eastern cities like New York and Boston.
Clashing cultures and transient populations, a boomtown mentality, easy availability of alcohol and firearms: these and many other factors come under scrutiny as catalysts in the violence that permeated the region. By comparing homicide data, including coroner's inquests, indictments, plea bargains, and sentences across both racial and regional lines, the book also offers persuasive evidence that criminal justice systems of the Old West were weighted heavily in favor of defendants who were white and against those who were African American, Native American, or Mexican.
Packed with information, this is a book for students and scholars of western history, social history, criminology, and justice studies. Western history buffs will be captivated by colorful anecdotes about the real West, where guns could and did blaze over anything from love trysts to vendettas to too much foam on the beer. From whatever perspective, all readers are sure to find here a well-constructed framework for understanding the West as it was and for interpreting the region as it moves into the future.