Adventures in the West: Stories for Young Readers

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Overview


Before MP3 players, DVDs, and video games, before even TV and radio, American children entertained themselves by reading. Often what they read were popular magazines aimed at the whole family; a weekly newspaper such as The Youth’s Companion or a monthly magazine like St. Nicholas were about all a turn-of-the-century family could afford. But what these publications afforded was invaluable, and it is this education in imagination and American life that Adventures in the West revisits.
 
Adventures in the West brings together twenty-six stories from The Youth’s Companion and St. Nicholas to offer a unique perspective on the values of the time. The stories also reveal the common myths, attitudes, and prejudices of life on the western frontier, reflected in the lessons these publications imparted to a young audience. To enhance the reader’s understanding, the editors have added historical and cultural background for each story. Some of the best writers of the time, including L. Frank Baum, Hamlin Garland, and Mary Austin, write of a West that mirrors American history and the values the authors sought to promote. Filled with the exploits of cowpunchers, pioneers, courageous Indians, and plucky animals, these riveting stories also embody the beliefs and experiences of an era and tell more than one story of their day.
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Editorial Reviews

Omaha World-Herald

“The stories do more than relate interesting tales. They are windows to the world west of the Mississippi as it transformed from wilderness to a land of farms and cities, from the preserve of Indians to a land claimed mostly by white settlers. . . . [Readers] will appreciate these stories for their adventures, pioneer spirit and colorful characters.”—Omaha World-Herald

— Carol Bicak

Omaha World-Herald - Carol Bicak

“The stories do more than relate interesting tales. They are windows to the world west of the Mississippi as it transformed from wilderness to a land of farms and cities, from the preserve of Indians to a land claimed mostly by white settlers. . . . [Readers] will appreciate these stories for their adventures, pioneer spirit and colorful characters.”—Omaha World-Herald

Omaha World-Herald
"The stories do more than relate interesting tales. They are windows to the world west of the Mississippi as it transformed from wilderness to a land of farms and cities, from the preserve of Indians to a land claimed mostly by white settlers. . . . [Readers] will appreciate these stories for their adventures, pioneer spirit and colorful characters."

— Carol Bicak, Omaha World-Herald

Children's Literature - Melissa J. Rickey
This collection of twenty-six stories take readers back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when two popular publications for adolescent readers, The Youth's Companion and St. Nicholas, published stories about the West and its inhabitants. The editors state that "Periodicals were important in the social, cultural, and educational development of the children of America's past, and today they are our best sources for learning about the history, attitudes, values and aspirations of previous generations…[They] not only reveal what Americans wanted their children to learn, believe, and remember but also reflect society's interests and beliefs at the time." The editors have selected these stories with care and provide brief analyses and commentary on the themes that reflect the social contexts and mores of the time, including the unsettling and discriminatory stances the dominant culture took with regard to Native Americans, cowboys, and women. A consistent theme throughout the book is the fulfillment of the American Dream, manifested in stories where the main characters garner success despite the obstacles, hardships and potential violence they face. These successes, however, are often at the expense of those who are perceived as the obstacles; specifically, Native Americans, workers who strike for better wages, and saintly women who always do for others, often at their own peril. While this book does fill a specific purpose, it should not be used without comparing and contrasting these stories with the counter narratives and texts (historical fiction and nonfiction, oral histories, etc.) of the Native peoples, poor immigrants, and women whose accounts provide muchbroader pictures of this socio-historical context, and shine a light on the stereotypes that still abound today. Reviewer: Melissa J. Rickey
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803259744
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Series: Bison Original Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 302
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Susanne George Bloomfield is Distinguished Martin Professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Eric Melvin Reed is a graduate assistant in English at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
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