A New Look at the Old West
key: ES-Elementary MS-Middle School HS-High School
Acuña, Rodolfo. Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. 4th ed. New York: Addison Wesley, 1999.
Lively, often opinionated view of American history from the perspective of the Southwest, seen through the eyes of Hispanic Americans.
The American Frontier (1862-1917). Vol. 5. Peterborough, NH: Cobblestone Publishing, 1996.
Bartley, Paula. Plains Women: Women in the American West. New York Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Oral accounts, diaries, letters talk about the experiences of women in the West, and how they were affected by new physical and social environments. The authors also contrast the lives of white Americans with those of native Plains Indians.
Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. New York: Holt, 1971.
Essential reading for anyone hoping to understand or to teach the history of the West. Makes excellent use of primary sources; with its own strong point of view.
Chan, Sucheng, ed. Peoples of Color in the American West. Lexington, MA: DC Heath, 1994.
A Companion to American Indian History. Edited by Philip J. Deloria and Neal
Salisbury. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2002.
Thoughtful essays on American Indian culture, scholarship and literature, including a excellent presentation on historiography by editor Deloria.
Crow Dog, Mary. Lakota Woman. New York, NY: HarperPerennial, 1991.
A searingly honest autobiography by a Native American participant in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s, who, among other accomplishments, gave birth to a child while under seige by federal forces at Wounded Knee. A good look at Indian activitism, and the struggles of a person caught between "American" and Native American cultures.
Deloria, Philip J. Playing Indian. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.
A treatise on American identity and more pointedly on the identity of Indians in America and how they have figured into American culture, beginning with the Boston Tea Party.
Durham, Philip. The Negro Cowboys. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1983.
Describes the lives of the more than five thousand Negro cowboys who contributed to the transformation of the West.
Faragher, John M. Women and Men on the Overland Trail. 2nd rev. ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.
Drawn almost entirely from diaries written on the way to Oregon and California. Documents the strong and diverse role for women in the frontier experience.
Garroutte, Eva Marie. Real Indians: Identity and the Survival of Native America. Berkeley : University of California Press, 2003.
The author combines scholarly sources, personal narratives, interviews and other data to study American Indian identity.
In Search of the Racial Frontier. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.
Covers 16th to mid-20th century— and the participation of Blacks in all aspects of life in the American West.
Johnson, Susan Lee. Roaring Camp: The Social World of the California Gold Rush. New York: W. W. Norton, 2000.
A look at society in and beyond the California gold camps of the 1850s. Presents sophisticated analysis of the lives of Chinese, native Californians, as well as the male culture of the camps.
Lapp, Rudolph. Blacks in Gold Rush California. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977.
Leckie, William. The Buffalo Soldiers. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma, 1967.
Love, Nat. The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick"-by himself. Baltimore, MD: Black Classics Pr.,1988, c1907.
View of the American West through the eyes and experience of a black cowboy in the late 19th century.
Luchetti, Cathy. Children of the West: Family Life on the Frontier. New York: Norton, 2001.
Utilizes vintage photographs and excerpts from letters, diaries, and journals to examine aspects of childbearing, child rearing, childhood, and adolescence on the American frontier.
Luchetti, Cathy. Women of the West. New York: Orion Books, 1992.
Based on journals, letters, and diaries of American women of the West in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Includes period photos.
Miller, Robert Henry. Reflections of a Black Cowboy. Illustrations by Richard Leonard. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett Press, 1991.
The New Encyclopedia of the American West. Edited by Howard R. Lamar. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.
A revised version of the editor’s classic work, Reader’s Encyclopedia of the American West, with 2400 signed entries, over 600 illustrations and maps, and a detailed timeline. Lamar has tried to combine "older interpretations by distinguished western historians and revisionist interpretations by new scholars" to offer a broad and detailed coverage of the American frontier and the West.
Painter, Nell Irvin. Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas after Reconstruction. New York: Knopf, 1976.
The Portable Western Reader. Edited by William Kittredge. New York: Penguin, 1997.
"Part 1, 'Ancient Stories,' shows the evolution of Native American storytelling from the early legends to contemporary stories and includes writings by Catherine McClellan, John Graves, and Louise Erdrich. Parts 2 and 3 contrast the mythology of the 19th-century 'Western' with the actual experience of living in the West. Most of these authors, from Walt Whitman to Larry McMurtry, will be familiar to readers. Part 4, 'Brilliant Possibilities,' showcases the new generation of Western writers, including Gretel Ehrlich, Jimmy Santiago Baca, and Sherman Alexie." (Libr. J.)
Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America's Western Past. Edited by William
Cronon, George Miles, and Jay Gitlin. New York: W.W. Norton, c1992.
Essays on the meaning and direction of America's western history. Topics include Native Americans, race relations, and the role of religion.
Utly, Robert M. The Indian Frontier of the American West, 1846-1890. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1984.
Resources for Students
Anderson, La Vere. Saddles and Sabers: Black Men in the Old West. Campaign, IL: Garland Publishing, 1975.
"Black Cowboys and Cowgirls." Cobblestone. March/April 1999.Peterborough, NH: Cobblestone Publishing. (ES/MS)
"Blacks in the Gold Rush." Footsteps, Jan/Feb 2000. Peterborough, NH:Cobblestone Publishing. (ES/MS)
"Blacks Who Settled the West." American Legacy: The Magazine of African-American History and Culture. vol. 7, no. 3. Fall 2001. (MS/HS)
Bridging the Continent: a Sourcebook on the American West. Edited by Carter Smith. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1992. (MS)
Brown, Dee Alexander. Lonesome Whistle: the Story of the First Transcontinental Railroad. New York : Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1980. (MS)
Adapted for young readers from the author's Hear that lonesome whistle blow, this book describes the building of the first transcontinental railroad and discusses train travel in the West in general in the late 19th century.
"Buffalo Soldiers." Cobblestone. February, 1995. Peterborough, NH: Cobblestone Publishing. (ES/MS)
Cox, Clinton. The Forgotten Heroes: The Story of the Buffalo Soldiers. New York: Scholastic, 1993. (MS)
Cushman, Karen. Rodzina. New York: Clarion, 2003. (ES/MS)
A twelve-year-old Polish American girl is boarded onto an orphan train in Chicago, in 1881, with fears about traveling to the West and a life of unpaid slavery. Her adventures reveal a great deal about conditions in the West, and also Rodzina's own Polish heritage.
Duncan, Dayton. People of the West. New York: Little, Brown: 1996.
Tells the stories of men and women whose individual experiences provide a representative picture of life during the formative years of the American West. Based on the PBS series "The West."
Emsden, Katharine. Voices from the West: Life Along the Trail. Lowell,
MA: Discovery Enterprises Ltd., 1992. (MS/HS)
Excerpts from three pioneer diaries of young women who traveled to the West in the mid 19th century, accompanied by essays which give background information and speak for Native Americans, African Americans and others who were involved in the movement in some way.
Freedman, Russell. Children of the Wild West. New York : Clarion Books,
Public, 1983. (ES/MS)
Historical photographs with explanatory text present a picture of life in the American West from 1840 to the early 1900s.
Freedman, Russell. Cowboys of the Wild West. New York: Clarion, 1985. (ES/MS)
What daily life was like, including duties, clothes and equipment, for cowboys between the 1860’s and 1890’s.
Katz, William Loren. Black People Who Made the Old West. Trenton, N.J. : Africa World Press, 1992. (MS/HS)
Katz, William Loren. Black Women of the Old West. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c1995. (MS/HS)
Katz, William Loren. The Black West. 3rd ed., rev. and expanded. Seattle, WA : Open Hand Pub., c1987. (MS/HS)
A history of the black people who participated in the development of the Western frontier in the United States, in such categories as the explorers, fur traders, early settlers, slaves, cowboys, and soldiers.
Ketchum, Liza. Into a New Country: Eight Remarkable Women of the West. New York: Little, Brown, 2000. (MS/HS)
Presents the history of the West through eight biographies of women, including Susan Magoffin, Lotta Crabtree, and Biddy Mason.
Levenson, Dorothy. Homesteaders and Indians. New York: Franklin Watts, 1971.
McGowen, Tom. African-Americans in the Old West. New York: Children's Press, 1998. (ES/MS)
Describes the important role of freed slaves and other African-Americans in the settlement of the West.
Marrin, Albert. Empires Lost and Won: The Spanish Heritage in the Southwest. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1997. (MS/HS)
Discusses the history of the Southwestern region of the U.S. from the sixteenth century to the Mexican-American War, examining the interactions between the Spanish, Indians, and Anglos.
Pendergast, Tom. Westward Expansion: Primary Sources. Detroit: Gale, 2001. (MS)
A reference work, but with lively stories of individuals from Lewis & Clark, to early Texas, the Trail of Tears, and Gold Rush California. With discussion questions, bibliography and good illustrations.
Randolph, Ryan. Black Cowboys. New York: Powerkids, 2003. (ES)
Part of the ‘Library of Westward Expansion’ series, a brief look at the contribution of African Americans settling the West.
Sakurai, Gail. Asian-Americans in the Old West. New York : Children's Press, 2000. (MS)
Schlissel, Lillian. Black Frontiers: A History of African American Heroes in the Old West. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1995. (MS/HS)
Brief biographical information about Jim Beckwourth, Nat Love, Mary Ellen Pleasant and others. Also includes many photographs, source notes and a bibliography.
Scott, Victoria, Ernest Jones. Sylvia Stark, A Pioneer: Biography. Seattle, WA: Open Hand, 1991.
Stefoff, Rebecca. Children of the Westward Trail. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1996. (MS)
Stefoff, Rebecca. The Opening of the West. New York: Benchmark, 2002. (MS)
Presents the history of the westward expansion of the U.S. in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through excerpts from letters, newspaper articles, journal entries, and laws of the time--material on early explorers, miners the overland trials, women and children in the West, and Native Americans.
Stefoff, Rebecca. The Oregon Trail in American History. Springfield, N.J.: Enslow, 1997. (MS)
Explores the great westward migration on the Oregon Trail in the nineteenth century and the experiences of those who traveled that way.
Stefoff, Rebecca. Texas and the Far West . New York : Benchmark Books, c2003. (MS)
Sonneborn, Liz. The American West : an Illustrated History. New York : Scholastic, 2002. (MS)
Black Indians An American Story. Dallas: Rich-Heape Films, 2000.1 videocassette (60 min)
Explores what brought Native Americans and African Americans together, what drove them apart, and the challenges they face today.
Buffalo Soldiers. Directed by Adrienne Rich. 1984.1 videocassette, 49 min.
A photographic history of the two black cavalry regiments that served to keep peace on the frontier from 1867 to 1891.
Cowboy. Center of the American West. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado, 1995. 1 videocassette, 45 min.
Prof. Searles of Augusta College in Georgia discusses the Black cowboy in this video from the African Americans in the West series.
Heritage of the Black West. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1995. 1 videocassette, 25 min. (MS/HS)
Shows present day and Old West African American cowboys.
The Legendary West. Los Angeles, CA : Republic Pictures Home Video, 1986.1 videocassette, 52 min.
Uses photographs, illustrations and film clips to explore how the reality of life during and after the westward migration came to evolve into the romanticized, mythologized version available in dime novels and Western movies.
Quintard Taylor. Center of the American West. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado, 1995. 1 videocassette, 48 min. (HS)
Part of the African Americans in the West Video Series; Prof. Taylor, author of In Search of a Racial Frontier, a history of African-Americans in the West, gives an overview of his work.
U.S.-Mexican War, 1846-1848. Alexandria, VA: PBS Home Video, 1998.
4 videocassettes, 4 hours. (MS/HS)
This series tells the dramatic story of a war in which Mexico lost almost half of its national territory to the U.S. This critically acclaimed documentary series explores the events surrounding the conflict between two neighboring nations struggling for land, power and identity.
The West, A Film by Stephen Ives. Directed by Stephen Ives and Ken Burns. Insignia Films and WGBH. Alexandria, VA: PBS Video, 1996.
9 videocassettes, 732 minutes. (MS/HS)
A nine part series that originally aired on PBS in 1996; presents a comprehensive view of the western U.S. – its history, geography, stories, myths, and the well- and lesser-known people who made the become a metaphor for the entire country.