Exploration And Empire

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Overview

From early mountain men searching for routes through the Rockies to West Point soldier-engineers conducting topographical expeditions, the exploration of the American West mirrored the development of a fledgling nation. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning Exploration and Empire, William H. Goetzmann analyzes the special role the explorer played in shaping the vast region once called "the Great American Desert." According to Goetzmann, the exploration of the West was not a haphazard series of discoveries, but a planned ...
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Overview

From early mountain men searching for routes through the Rockies to West Point soldier-engineers conducting topographical expeditions, the exploration of the American West mirrored the development of a fledgling nation. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning Exploration and Empire, William H. Goetzmann analyzes the special role the explorer played in shaping the vast region once called "the Great American Desert." According to Goetzmann, the exploration of the West was not a haphazard series of discoveries, but a planned - even programmed - activity in which explorers, often armed with instructions from the federal government, gathered information that would support national goals for the new lands. As national needs and the frontier's image changed, the West itself was rediscovered by successive generations of explorers, a process that in turn helped shape its culture. Nineteenth-century western exploration, Goetzmann writes, can be divided into three stages. The first, beginning with the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804, was marked by the need to collect practical information, such as the locations of the best transportation routes through the wilderness. Then came the era of settlement and investment - the drive to fulfill the Manifest Destiny of a nation beginning to realize what immense riches lay beyond the Mississippi. The final stage involved a search for knowledge of a different kind, as botanists and paleontologists, ethnographers and engineers hunted intensively for scientific information in the "frontier laboratory." This last phase also saw a rethinking of the West's place in the national scheme; it was a time of nascent conservation movements and public policy discussions about the region's future. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, Goetzmann offers a masterful overview of the opening of the West, as well as a fascinating study of the nature of exploration and its consequences for civilization.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597401715
  • Publisher: Scholarly Publishing Office, U of MI
  • Publication date: 7/1/2010
  • Pages: 704
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.69 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Exploration and Imperialism: 1805-45
Ch. I Westward the Clash of Empires 3
Ch. II The Rediscovery of the Southwest 36
Ch. III Canada Moves South 79
Ch. IV The Mountain Men 105
Ch. V Something More Than Beaver 146
Ch. VI The Romantic Horizon 181
Pt. 2 The Great Reconnaissance and Manifest Destiny: 1845-60
Ch. VII When the Eagle Screamed: The Explorer as Diplomat in the Final Clash of Imperial Energies 231
Ch. VIII In Search of an Iron Trail 265
Ch. IX The Great Reconnaissance 303
Pt. 3 Exploration and the Great Surveys: 1860-1900
Ch. X The New Mountain Men: California's Geological Survey 355
Ch. XI The Army Way 390
Ch. XII The West of Clarence King 430
Ch. XIII The Last Stand of the Army Explorer 467
Ch. XIV F. V. Hayden: Gilded Age Explorer 489
Ch. XV John Wesley Powell: The Explorer as Reformer 530
Ch. XVI Epilogue: Beyond the Explorer's Frontier 577
A Note on the Sources 649
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    How The West Was Discovered

    Goetzmann wrote on of the best histories of the opening of the West, using explorers and surveyors to show how the area was discovered, explored, and mapped. Some might find it slightly dry or hope to hear more about certain individuals but Goetzmann was more interested in the process than individuals. (I would have liked to read his take on the Cope-Marsh bone wars.) I suggest looking for a cheaper edition of this book. If you are more interested in the individuals who spearheaded the conquest of the West, I have found Bernard DeVoto, Robert Utley, and Stephen Ambrose to be very interesting. Mari Sandoz is a fine writer, but some of her facts and research are suspect.

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