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Professor Myres gives frontier women a voice they never had. She uses extensive source material by and about women—letters, journals, and reminiscences from over 400 collections—to study the impact of the frontier on women's lives and the role of women in the West. She offers a major reinterpretation of the experience of pioneer women, including that of Indian, Mexican, French, black, and Anglo-American women. The account recreates in detail the frontier experience of all these women, beginning with their physical and intellectual responses to the trek West, and concluding with their struggle for political suffrage and economic opportunity.
Women moved from civilization to the frontier encumbered by more than baggage. They also had to overcome literary and social stereotypes. We learn their views on wilderness, Indians, race, and religion as well as how they reacted to the daily challenges of keeping house, raising a family, and gaining a measure of equality.
"A strikingly original, highly readable, and informative history that will be used by scholars and lay readers alike."—Howard Lamar, from the Foreword