Last updated: April 10, 2015
The American West. Dee Brown. New York: Simon & Schuster/Touchstone book, 1994.
Bestselling author Dee Brown (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee) has compiled a book that chronicles the American West during the last half of the nineteenth century. The book, simply titled The American West, is a series of well-written essays on a myriad of topics including prominent Indian leaders, miners, cowboys, soldiers and settlers. The brief chapters (29 in all) focus on important events, fascinating individuals and social forces.
Brown also examines the origins of the western myth in literature and traces the rise of rodeos and Wild West shows. Brown’s biographical entries provide perhaps the most interesting tales. Readers will be very interested to hear Brown’s perspectives on people like Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Buffalo Bill, Crazy Horse, Charles Goodnight, Wyatt Earp, Teddy Roosevelt, and General George Custer.
Overall, Brown offers a thorough and entertaining glimpse into the history of perhaps the nation’s most misunderstood and glamorized region. He takes the reader on a revealing ride through time but cautions, “Let us be wise enough to learn true history so that we can recognize a myth when we see one.” Good advice from a well-respected writer.