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Gunfighter nation : the myth of the frontier in Twentieth-Century America /
Richard Slotkin.
New York : Atheneum ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, 1992.
xii, 850 p. ; 24 cm.
0689121636 :
More Details
New York : Atheneum ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, 1992.
0689121636 :
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 767-828) and index.
A Look Inside
This item was nominated for the following awards:
National Book Awards, USA, 1993 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1993-05:
With this volume, Slotkin completes his trilogy on the myth of the frontier in American history. Regeneration through Violence (CH, Jun'73) examined the development of the frontier myth within the context of early US history; The Fatal Environment (CH, Sep'85) related it to aspects of American life in the 19th century. The current book traces the image of the frontier in American life and thought from the era of Frederick Jackson Turner and Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Slotkin uses a variety of sources to document his interpretation, among them fiction, history, cinema, television, and presidential speeches. The result is a superlative explanation of how the imagined West has been used as a metaphor to explain and justify the American experience in the 20th century. Readers unfamiliar with Slotkin's earlier works will need to peruse with care his introductory remarks about myth and American culture before proceeding to the book itself. The study complements Henry Nash Smith's Virgin Land (1950); Richard Drinnon's Facing West (CH, Nov'80); and Gerald D. Nash's Creating the West (CH, Feb'92). Bibliography and notes are excellent. Highly recommended. All levels. L. B. Gimelli; Eastern Michigan University
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1992-11-16:
The myth of the Western frontier--which assumes that whites' conquest of Native Americans and the taming of the wilderness were preordained means to a progressive, civilized society--is embedded in our national psyche. U.S. troops called Vietnam ``Indian country.'' President John Kennedy invoked ``New Frontier'' symbolism to seek support for counterinsurgency abroad. In an absorbing, valuable, scholarly study, Slotkin, director of American studies at Wesleyan University, traces the pervasiveness of frontier mythology in American consciousness from 1890 to the present. Theodore Roosevelt's ``progressive'' version of the frontier myth was used to justify conquest of the Philippines and the emergence of a new managerial class. Dime novels and detective stories adapted the myth to portray gallant heroes repressing strikers, immigrants and dissidents. Completing a trilogy begun with Regeneration Through Violence and The Fatal Environment , Slotkin unmasks frontier mythmaking in novels and Hollywood movies. The myth's emphasis on use of force over social solutions has had a destructive impact, he shows, on our handling of urban violence, racial conflict and the ``drug war.'' (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, October 1992
Kirkus Reviews, October 1992
Publishers Weekly, November 1992
Choice, May 1993
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Significance of the Frontier Myth in American Historyp. 1
The Mythology of Progressivism, 1880-1902
The Winning of the West: Theodore Roosevelt's Frontier Thesis, 1880-1900p. 29
The White City and the Wild West: Buffalo Bill and the Mythic Space of American History, 1880-1917p. 63
Mob, Tribe, and Regiment: Modernization as Militarization, 1883-1902p. 88
Populists and Progressives: Literary Myth and Ideological Style, 1872-1940
Mythologies of Resistance: Outlaws, Detectives, and Dime-Novel Populism, 1873-1903p. 125
Aristocracy of Violence: Virility, Vigilante Politics, and Red-Blooded Fiction, 1895-1910p. 156
From the Open Range to the Mean Streets: Myth and Formula Fiction, 1910-1940p. 194
Colonizing a Mythic Landscape: Movie Westerns, 1903-1948
Formulas on Film: Myth and Genre in the Silent Movie, 1903-1926p. 231
The Studio System, the Depression, and the Eclipse of the Western, 1930-1938p. 255
The Western Is American History, 1939-1941p. 278
Lost Stands and Lost Patrols: The Western and the War Film, 1940-1948p. 313
Democracy and Force: The Western and the Cold War, 1946-1960
Studies in Red and White: Cavalry, Indians and Cold War Ideology, 1946-1954p. 347
Killer Elite: The Cult of the Gunfighter, 1950-1953p. 379
Imagining Third World Revolutions: The "Zapata Problem" and the Counterinsurgency Scenario, 1952-1954p. 405
Gunfighters and Green Berets: Imagining the Counterinsurgency Warrior, 1956-1960p. 441
Gunfighter Nation: Myth, Ideology, and Violence on the New Frontier, 1960-1970
Conquering New Frontiers: John Kennedy, John Wayne, and the Myth of Heroic Leadership, 1960-1968p. 489
Attrition: The Big Unit War, the Riots, and the Counterinsurgency Western, 1965-1968p. 534
Cross-over Point: The Mylai Massacre, The Wild Bunch, and the Demoralization of America, 1969-1972p. 578
Conclusion: The Crisis of Public Mythp. 624
Notesp. 663
Bibliographyp. 767
Indexp. 829
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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