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Summary

This thoughtful examination of a century of travel writing about the American West overturns a variety of popular and academic stereotypes. Looking at both European and American travelers' accounts of the West, from de Tocqueville's Democracy in America to William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways, David Wrobel offers a counternarrative to the nation's romantic entanglement with its Western past and suggests the importance of some long-overlooked authors, lively and perceptive witnesses to our history who deserve new attention. Although in recent decades Western historians have paid little attention to travel writing, Wrobel demonstrates that this genre in fact offers an important and rich understanding of the American West - one that extends and complicates a simple reading of the West that promotes the notions of manifest Destiny or American exceptionalism. His book is a testament to the instructive ways in which the best travel writers have represented the West.

Winner of the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The book is published by University of New Mexico Press.

©2013 University of New Mexico Press (P)2016 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"An exceptionally well-researched history, Wrobel's book offers enjoyable reading about the numerous and varied travel writers who shaped our idea of the West." ( True West)
"It is meticulously researched, sweeping in its geographic scope, and very well written." ( Journal of Arizona History)
"Elegantly written and fully persuasive in getting us to view the West in new ways." ( Montana The Magazine of Western History)

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  • Mark Mears
  • 04-01-18

Interesting

Not something for a casual listener, rather for someone interested in History and particularly American expansion.
Well written/read. I noticed some repetition, but it didn’t detract from the subject matter.