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Something in the Soil: Legacies and Reckonings in the New Westby Patricia Limerick
Synopses & Reviews
A wide-ranging collection of essays and arguments from the New West's landmark historian. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the American West is a region of great views and great friction, vigorous growth and equally vigorous conflict. In , Patricia Nelson Limerick continues the project she began with The Legacy of Conquest, traveling far outside the usual academic circles to put Western history to use in reckoning with current dilemmas. Whether the topic is the changing mission of the national parks, the notion of "culture" as a sort of Frankenstein's monster, the resurgent boom in Western gold mining, the unexamined--and increasingly ineffective--rituals of American environmentalists, or current struggles over the standing of the "Great White Men" of the frontier past, Limerick operates on the principle that history is an active presence in the West today, quite literally "something in the soil." Her irreverence for conventional pieties coexists with her respect for the American West's long history as a magnet for dreams of a better life.
Book News Annotation:
Limerick (history, U. of Colorado-Boulder) expands on the themes she broached in The Legacy of Conquest (1987) of the "beleaguered great white men" history and environmental issues haunting the US West. She concludes with rules for making academic writing accessible to wider audiences.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Continuing the project she began in "The Legacy of Conquest, " Limerick discusses the relevance of Western history in reckoning with current dilemmas. Her irreverence for conventional pieties coexists with her respect for the American West's long history as a magnet for dreams of a better life.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -374) and index.
About the Author
Patricia Nelson Limerick is a professor of history and chair of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Table of Contents
Haunted America — The adventures of the frontier in the twentieth century — The case of the premature departure: the trans-Mississippi West and American history textbooks — Historical lessons on Anza Day — John Sutter: prototype for failure — Turnerians all: the dream of a helpful history in an intelligible world — Mission to the environmentalists — Disorientation and reorientation: the American landscape discovered from the West — The Gold Rush and the shaping of the American West — Peace initiative: using the Mormons to rethink culture and ethnicity in American history — Will the real Californian please stand up? — The shadows of Heaven itself: the demanding dreams of the American West — Believing in the American West — A how-to guide for the academic going public — Dancing with professors: the trouble with academic prose — Limerick's rules of verbal etiquette.
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