The Minds of the West: Ethnocultural Evolution in the Rural Middle West, 1830-1917

The Minds of the West: Ethnocultural Evolution in the Rural Middle West, 1830-1917

by Jon Gjerde
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In the century preceding World War I, the American Middle West drew thousands of migrants both from Europe and from the northeastern United States. In the American mind, the region represented a place where social differences could be muted and a distinctly American culture created. Many of the European groups, however, viewed the Midwest as an area of opportunity… See more details below

Overview

In the century preceding World War I, the American Middle West drew thousands of migrants both from Europe and from the northeastern United States. In the American mind, the region represented a place where social differences could be muted and a distinctly American culture created. Many of the European groups, however, viewed the Midwest as an area of opportunity because it allowed them to retain cultural and religious traditions from their homelands.
Jon Gjerde examines the cultural patterns, or "minds," that those settling the Middle West carried with them. He argues that such cultural transplantation could occur because patterns of migration tended to reunite people of similar pasts and because the rural Midwest was a vast region where cultural groups could sequester themselves in tight-knit settlements built around familial and community institutions.
Gjerde compares patterns of development and acculturation across immigrant groups, exploring the frictions and fissures experienced within and between communities. Finally, he examines the means by which individual ethnic groups built themselves a representative voice, joining the political and social debate on both a regional and national level.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
It is, in many ways, ground-breaking.

Rural History

Its lens gives a more complicated, more interesting West and nation.

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Surely [this is] among the very best studies of ethnicity we have.

Reviews in American History

This is a valuable contribution to ethnic, social, and regional history and should receive a wide audience.

Western Historical Quarterly

This book will be essential for anyone studying the Middle West and American social, cultural, and intellectual history.

American Anthropologist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807823125
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
03/28/1997
Edition description:
1
Pages:
442
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.42(d)
Lexile:
1580L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
A challenging work by a writer conversant with the latest trends in immigration history. . . . Rich in original insights."The Catholic Historical Review

This book will be essential for anyone studying the Middle West and American social, cultural, and intellectual history.--American Anthropologist

Based on impressive research in a wide range of primary sources and on evident familiarity with an expansive secondary literature, this volume provides a complex and sensitive analysis of the differing cultural patterns that influenced the social, economic, and political development of the Upper Midwest during the nineteenth century. . . . This is a valuable contribution to ethnic, social, and regional history and should receive a wide audience.--Western Historical Quarterly

Gjerde has injected an important, well-crafted, and much needed argument into the analysis of the immigrant experience in the United States. It is, in many ways, ground-breaking.--Rural History

The Minds of the West is indispensable reading for those who want to understand the emergence of an American nation in the nineteenth century. Recounting the never-ending tensions immigrants felt between old and new, Jon Gjerde brings to life the unceasing process of redefining bonds to family, church, community, and nation. In a narrative that is both powerfully analytical and meticulously ethnographic, he uncovers subtle but important differences in styles of courtship, patterns of intimacy, methods of childraising, and inheritance practices among ethnic groups. Turning multiple identities into complementary ones, he returns assimilation to center stage. In this gem of a book, one of our best historians of immigration greatly enriches our vision of the American whole without ever sacrificing its parts.--Olivier Zunz, University of Virginia

This sparkling book is must reading for all students of ethnicity and immigration.--Annals of Iowa

This is a book of wide sweep, of sophisticated and multilayered analysis, and of broad significance for American historical scholarship. . . . [Gjerde] has brought together themes and arguments and mixed them with his own prodigious research in primary sources to create a book that is surely among the very best studies of ethnicity we have.--Reviews in American History

Sophisticated and well written. . . . It will be of interest not just to historians of the Midwest or of rural society but to all those interested in the immigrant experience in the United States.--Journal of American History

Gjerde has indeed made a groundbreaking and highly thought-provoking contribution to American history.--American Historical Review

An excellent job of tying together demography and intellectual history to explain ethnic voting patterns on issues like woman suffrage, mandatory schooling, and temperance."The Canadian Review of American Studies

13

14

15

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >