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The American West [Hardcover]

Dee Brown , Martin F. Schmitt
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 April 1995
This is an account of America's most famous drama. By centring solely on three subjects - Native Americans, settlers and ranchers - the author recreates these groups' struggles for their place in this new landscape and illuminates the history of the old West. Beginning with the demise of the Native Americans of the Plains, Brown depicts the onrush of the burgeoning cattle trade and the wave of immigrants who ultimately "settled" the land. By turns heroic, tragic and even humorous, this work brings to life American tragedy and triumph in the years from 1840 to the turn of the century, and a roster of characters both great and small: Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickock and many others.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 462 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (3 April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0025174215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0025174214
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 244,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Winfred Blevins "Author of "Dictionary of the American West" Dee Brown is a wonder. He has sustained a dazzling career in Western history for fifty years. He has worked a revolution without seeming radical. "The American West" will only make the rest of us shake our heads and mutter, "How does he do it?"

About the Author

Dee Brown is the author of the international bestseller BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE, which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. He spent the early years of his life in the lumber camps and oil fields of the American South West, and went on to write more than twenty books relating to American frontier history. He died in December 2002. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to American frontier history 13 July 2011
The American West centers on three subjects: Native Americans, settlers, and ranchers. Dee Brown re-creates these groups struggles for their place in this new landscape and illuminates the history of the old West in a single volume, containing maps and vintage photographs. In his spirited telling of this national saga, Brown demonstrates once again his abilities as a storyteller and entertaining popular historian.

The American West is not an exhaustive study or history of the era, but a good starting point and introduction to a very important era of American history - if you just have a passing interest in the subject. The book does focus a lot on Native Americans and their wars and interaction with the settlers, soliders and ranchers. The other chapters in the book are quite secondary, providing a good overview of the development of the cattle industry, stories of colourful characters and events.

If you want an overview of the settling of the West, the cowboys, Native Americans, soldiers, dance hall girls, gamblers, settlers, thieves, con artists and more, this is a good start.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars quick review of Dee Brown's "The American West" 13 May 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A lot of the material about the Indian Wars overlaps with that in Brown's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" but there is in addition interesting information about the cattle drives, cowboys, the colourful characters who lived and died in Abilene, Dodge City etc. I skipped quickly through the chapters on entertainments. Well worth reading but not in the same league as "Bury My Heart".
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How the West was Lost... 28 Feb 2011
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
Dee Brown is best known for his paradigm shifting best-seller, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West (Arena Books) first published in 1972, written with such intensity and emotion that it is hard for a white American to read it without at least once the eyes watering up, in shame. Prior to that book, I, and many other Americans saw the settling of the West by the white man as one glorious enterprise. We had seen all too many "Westerners" on TV, with the wagon train filled with "innocent" white settlers being attacked by "savages," for no apparent reason. As is now revealed in narratives about the coming-of-age experience of many real Indians, the propaganda was so effective that EVEN the Indians who watched these shows would root for the cowboys. After his book, and much too late (and perhaps that is the real reason) many Americans realized there were numerous flaws in this mythology, which include a long string of broken treaties.

For no other than the above reasons, Brown's "The American West" deserves much consideration. The book is not "scholarly," which could be a recommendation for many, since that particular genre has its own flaws. Does it have an Indian "bias," as one reviewer charged, without giving a specific example? Well, if raising the issue of shredded treaties is "bias," Brown is guilty. And there is no unifying theme; it is a series of vignettes that focus on portions of the settlement experience, and include `whites only' stories, such as "The Saga of Dodge City" and "The Myth and its Makers."

Simply the pictures and the maps make the book a worthwhile purchase.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tangled tale 27 Feb 2013
This book is packed full of colourful characters and thrilling stories. Names I had vaguely heard and half remembered sprang into life in the pages; Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Crazy Horse, Geronimo ... even Calamity Jane turned out to have been a real woman long before Doris Day (Calamity Jane). I found plenty of detail about life in the 'Wild West' and the real world of Cowboys and Indians in the late 19th Century. The style of writing is clear and easy to read and the 'story' moves along quickly from scene to scene.

Yet, it was not an enjoyable read, and I found it hard going at times. The introduction describes how this material was first compiled to accompany three books of photographs (Indians, Cowboys and Settlers) and this shows in the finished work; each chapter sets its own scene, and there is little attempt to analyse, merge or draw together the threads of the different stories.

Thus, with the Indians (or Native Americans...), we have a separate chapter giving an account of each individual tribe as they are forced from their hunting grounds into reservations. Each story is depressingly similar, and I was left with little notion of the chronology, or of the overall government thinking that was guiding this policy. It would have helped me immensely if there had been a good introductory chapter outlining the framework of events and the reasons and motivations behind them, and perhaps a comparison of the various different tribes and how they related to each other.

Of the original Settlers, and the opening up of the American West, very little was said.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. 14 Feb 2011
This book is a must for anyone interested in the old American west. It's a great account of the history of the west and is delivered in a way that makes you feel like you are there.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, an in depth history
An excellent book, an in depth history. into the American Indians This book has been extremely well researched. a great read.
Published 10 days ago by phoggarth
4.0 out of 5 stars stories about the conquest of the west
interesting stories, but is lacks an hystorical background, in any case godd for who wants s to understand the West
Published 2 months ago by Giulio Mazzolini
5.0 out of 5 stars Dee Brown's "The American West".
This is a fantastic account of "The Old West". It's written in chronological order of events, from the early days of exploration and the frontiersmen to the later "civilising" of... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Shaun Lynch
4.0 out of 5 stars One star down...
I have read the other more well known book by Dee Brown, the incomparable 'Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee' and, it proved to be an excellent read, stacked with more information than... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Inquisio
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of fascinating stories and portraits
I can't really fault this book. If you want to get under the skin of the American West and what that means then this book will probably do it. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Arty
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.......
Great read for someone who has just had a fabulous trip to the States.
Will probably get another one by same author. Excellent service.
Published 17 months ago by Wagga
5.0 out of 5 stars "A REAL HISTORY BOOK OF THE WEST"
I really enjoyed reading this book one can read the author Dee Brown has put alot research into this book. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Winston Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars dee brown
Can say that all the books I have read by Dee Brown have been very good. Excellent if you are interested in the Old West.
Published 18 months ago by Mrs.J.V.Bullard
4.0 out of 5 stars Great US History Book . Easy to Read.
I have been fascinated by US history for a long time and this book is easy to read and gives an unbiased history of The American West. Read more
Published on 20 May 2012 by J. Haycraft
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Superb Book
I thoroughly enjoyed this book . Dee Brown writes well and brings his subject wonderfully to life . Whether you want to learn about indians , cowboys , ranchers , saloon girls , he... Read more
Published on 12 April 2012 by A.J. Reynolds
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