Exciting storytelling, a hallmark of western writing, shapes every selection. C. L. Sonnichsen's 1986 revisionist account of Geronimo's life foreshadows the work of younger historians who continue to deepen our understanding of American Indian history. Jeffrey Pearson's story of the death of Crazy Horse and Greg Michno's novelistic rendering of the Lakota view of the Battle of the Little Bighorn represent history as practiced by scholars who are also powerful writers.
Journalist-screenwriter William Broyles's narrative of the King family and ranch is a Texas saga as captivating as anything by Larry McMurtry. The renowned novelist Oakley Hall writes with a historian's precision about Wyoming, setting for The Virginian and site of the Teapot Dome scandal and the Johnson County range war. Focusing on Charles M. Russell, Raphael Cristy establishes the western artist's importance as a writer who overturned stereotypes about American Indians.
Environmental studies are showcased in Dan Flores's essays on the demise of the great buffalo herds and the history of the horse trade. And no overview of the West would be complete without military and law enforcement history, amply represented by Robert M. Utley's work on the Texas Rangers, Paul Hutton's panoramic recounting of the Alamo, and Sally Denton's new look at the controversial Mountain Meadows Massacre, incorporating the latest forensic evidence. In what serves as a fitting coda to the violent yet inspiring history of the American West, Hutton offers a stirring account of Teddy Roosevelt's leadership at the Battle of San Juan Hill.
This is a collection as pleasurable to read as it is rich with great and significant stories about one of the most enduring national epochs--the history of the great American West.