Happy Trails: A Dictionary of Western Expressions

Overview

A dictionary of Western Expressions. From west of the Mississippi clear to the Pacific, Happy Trails includes the expressions of loggers, ranchers, cowboys, Indians, mountain men and virtually everyone who's ever been tamed by the west and had something to say about it.
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Overview

A dictionary of Western Expressions. From west of the Mississippi clear to the Pacific, Happy Trails includes the expressions of loggers, ranchers, cowboys, Indians, mountain men and virtually everyone who's ever been tamed by the west and had something to say about it.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
While failure to include maps and illustrations in the galley proofs of Atlas of Western Expansion prevents discussion of its value as an atlas, this book is a well-researched and -written survey of American territorial expansion from the Colonial period through the closing of the frontier at the end of the 19th century. Nicely complementing the main text are separate essays on topics such as the cotton gin, the six-shot revolver, the reaper, and the role of women, along with a chronology and a detailed bibliography. The overall presentation is well balanced, contrasting the growing of the nation at the expense of Native Americans, African slaves, and the environment. Wexler (coauthor of Who Was Who in World Exploration, LJ 4/15/93) has produced a well-executed examination appropriate as both a reference tool and a readable history. Happy Trails documents and identifies over 3500 words and phrases originating in American Western culture. Hendrickson draws his data from histories, biographies, diaries, poems, songs, dictionaries, novels, movies, and interviews. Most entries also include a quotation, usually drawn from fiction, to illustrate usage. The work is extensively cross-referenced, well written, and entertaining to read. As a whole, Happy Trails complements rather than replaces similar dictionaries, such as Winfred Belvin's Dictionary of the American West (LJ 1/93) and the Dictionary of American Regional English (LJ 11/1/85). Both the general reader and the librarian will find it useful and engaging. Recommended for all institutions; larger academic and public libraries should consider a second copy of Atlas of Westward Expansion for their circulating collections.-Stephen L. Hupp, Capital Univ. Lib., Columbus, Ohio
Zom Zoms
This is the second volume in Facts On File's Dictionary of American Regionalisms. The first, also by Hendrickson, was "Whistlin' Dixie" ["RBB" D 15 92]. The introduction indicates that the work "represents a lone writer's attempt to corral a good representative selection of Western speech. In 1993 Facts On File published a similar work, Blevins' "Dictionary of the American West" ["RBB" Ap 1 93). It is not listed among the sources Hendrickson used. He seems to have relied mostly on his own voracious reading of Western novels, biographies, short stories, movies, and television. Even so, since the two works are about the same length (approximately 3,500 entries in each), some comparisons are in order. The letter "O" was chosen at random for comparison; Hendrickson has 64 entries to Blevins' 42. Comparing them, 27 of Hendrickson's entries are not in Blevins, while 25 of Blevins' are not in Hendrickson Hendrickson frequently gives quoted examples of the usage of a word, usually with the source of the quote. Neither work places accents on non-English words, though Blevins gives the phonetic pronunciation of many Spanish words. He lists 10 words beginning with "gu"-, and the pronunciation of each is given. Hendrickson lists only one of these, "guayave", and gives no pronunciation Some of Hendrickson's definitions are rather naive. He defines "alkali dust" as "dust of the alkaline deserts of the Southwest." His entry "gringo", on the other hand, disparages the traditional meaning, "gibberish," derived from the Spanish word "griego", as if to say, "it's Greek to me," and suggests a derivation from the name of Major Samuel Ringgold, a great fighter against Mexicans up to 1846. Blevins accepts the traditional derivation, while admitting that "the etymology remains uncertain." There is no bibliography in Hendrickson, while Blevins has four pages of further reading Should a library with a Western-oriented clientele buy Blevins or Hendrickson, or both? One or the other of these works should suffice for all but the true aficionado of Western words.
Booknews
An impressive collection of some 3,000 words, expressions, idioms. Covers vernacular usage west of the Mississippi. Fun browsing. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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