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Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century Americaby Richard Slotkin
Synopses & Reviews
Gunfighter Nation completes Richard Slotkins trilogy, begun in Regeneration Through Violence and continued in Fatal Environment, on the myth of the American frontier. Slotkin examines an impressive array of sources - fiction, Hollywood westerns, and the writings of Hollywood figures and Washington leaders - to show how the racialist theory of Anglo-Saxon ascendance and superiority (embodied in Theodore Roosevelts The Winning of the West), rather than Frederick Jackson Turners thesis of the closing of the frontier, exerted the most influence in popular culture and government policy making in the twentieth century. He argues that Roosevelts view of the frontier myth provided the justification for most of Americas expansionist policies, from Roosevelts own Rough Riders to Kennedys counterinsurgency and Johnsons war in Vietnam.
Book News Annotation:
In the third of a three-volume study in the development of the myth of the frontier in US literary, popular, and political culture from the colonial period to the present, Slotkin (English, Wesleyan U.) covers Theodore Roosevelt's and Frederick Jackson Turner's visions of the frontier, and the expression of the frontier myth in such popular culture phenomena as dime novels, Buffalo Bill's Wild West, the formula fiction of 1900-40, and the Hollywood film.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Richard Slotkin is Olin Professor of English and Director of American Studies at Wesleyan University. He is the author of Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860 and Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of Frontier in Twentieth-Century America, published by the University of Oklahoma Press.
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