Westward Expansion

Westward Expansion

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by Sara E. Quay
     
 

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As men and women traveled west to settle America's untamed lands, and tried to strike it rich in gold, they led a simple existence, often carrying the barest necessities from one location to another. Yet they also carried with them their own popular culture, through folk songs, legends, and literature, that has often been mythologized into our present American

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Overview

As men and women traveled west to settle America's untamed lands, and tried to strike it rich in gold, they led a simple existence, often carrying the barest necessities from one location to another. Yet they also carried with them their own popular culture, through folk songs, legends, and literature, that has often been mythologized into our present American popular culture. Through primary sources such as letters, diaries, and photographs, the author draws parallels and makes distinctions between the pioneers and cowboys of the past and those of today. Students and fans of the Old West will find this volume a rich source of history for this time period.

Many images and items in today's popular culture were born in the time of westward expansion. Log cabins, cowboys such as the Marlboro Man and Woody of ^I Toy Story^R fame, and Levi's jeans, all have their roots in the Old West. Outlaws such as Wild Bill Hikock, Billy the Kid, and Jesse James, and good guys such as Davy Crockett, continue to fascinate students and western enthusiasts. Traveling entertainments, mail-order houses, and patent medicines, although no longer popular in today's society, tell us much about the nomadic existence of families during this time. With a timeline and a list of everyday products and their prices during the time period, this volume will be an invaluable resource to students and historians tracing the roots of American popular culture.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
This unique look at America's expansion to the West explores history through the influence on popular culture of people, places, inventions, and events. From the creation of the chuck wagon to the myth of the cowboy in movies and television, twelve chapters tackle the variety of ways the West lingers in today's clothing, food, transportation, visual arts, and literature. This reference book is packed with information, although the trick for the librarian will be remembering to use it. The invention of denim jeans, a brief biography of Ansel Adams, a look at the transcontinental railroad and the Pullman porters, the importance of the art of Fredric Remington, how the West is featured in Disneyland, and the origin of brand names are all explored. A good index, extensive endnotes, and a long list of further reading will supplement the information found here and provide an easy guide for the student seeking more. Anyone interested in Western history can also read this book for pleasure. Music collectors will find great background information on western popular music, fans of pulp Western fiction could discover a new author, and the "Food" chapter will provide a great background for young people imagining the life of the pioneers on the trail. There are sections on drinking, gambling, and prostitution because all were part of the West, but this book dispels many myths associated with these activities. This excellent title belongs on the reference shelves, and all staff members who assist with student research should be aware of and familiar with it. Index. Illus. Photos. Further Reading. Chronology. 2002, Greenwood, 328p. PLB
— Hillary Theyer
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-This volume covers U.S. frontier culture from the Gold Rush to the close of the 19th century and discusses how myths and images of the Wild West have influenced 20th- and 21st-century popular culture. Arrangement is thematic; the first section presents overviews of "Everyday Life" and the "World of Youth" during the westward movement. Part two addresses advertising, architecture, fashion, food, leisure activities, literature, music, performing arts, travel, and the visual arts. Each chapter includes a generous helping of specific examples reflecting customs, fads, and trends of the times, from the popularity of tinned oysters as a delicacy to the excitement generated by the arrival of a new Montgomery Ward catalog. Supplementary content includes a time line of significant popular culture events from 1823 through 1889, a brief but intriguing list of representative product prices from the period ($1 for a pair of Levi's Jeans, 25 cents per night for a hotel room), thorough chapter notes, and useful suggestions for further reading. The black-and-white illustrations are less interesting than the text, as they are small and sparsely distributed. Nevertheless, this is a good starting point for students ready to move beyond encyclopedias and other general research tools.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Quay (Endicott College) traces the pioneer roots of contemporary American culture and describes the life and culture during the period of western expansion. Particular attention is given to advertising, architecture, fashion, food, leisure, literature, music, the performing arts, travel, the visual arts, and the costs of consumer products. Reproduced photographs, woodcuts, and line drawings support the text. A timeline of western expansion is also included. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313312359
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/30/2002
Series:
American Popular Culture Through History Series
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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