The West: An Illustrated History by Geoffrey C. Ward (HC/DJ)
This is the companion volume to the stunning PBS TV series from Stephen Ives and Ken Burns. The book features over 400 illustrations, many of them never before published, in magnificent color. In a vivid narrative that begins with the arrival of the first Europeans and ends well into the 20th century, Ward provides a gripping journey through the turbulent history of the region that has come to symbolize America around the world. Drawing upon hundreds of letters, diaries, memoirs, and journals as well as the latest scholarship, THE WEST chronicles the arrival of wave after wave of newcomers from every direction of the compass. The cast is as rich and diverse as the western landscape itself--explorers, soldiers, Indian warriors, settlers, railroad builders and gaudy showmen. Coronado, Custer, Jesse James, Chief Joseph, Brigham Young and Buffalo Bill are all here. So are scores of lesser-known westerners whose stories are no less compelling--a Chinese ditchdigger. a rich Mexican landowner, a forty-niner from Chile, a Texas cowboy born in Britain, a woman missionary to the Indians who loathed the West and a Wellesley graduate who loved it in spite of everything it did to her and her family. It is the central story of America, a story filled with heroism and hope, enterprise and adventure as well as tragedy and disappointment. THE WEST explores the tensions between whites and the native peoples they sought to displace, but it also encompasses the Hispanic experience in the West from the time of the conquistadors to the transformation of a Mexican-American village called Los Angeles into the region's major metropolis, the lives of Chinese immigrants who called the region "Gold Mountain", and the ordeals of freed slaves from the South who sought a better life homesteading on the Great Plains. Beautifully written, richly illustrated, meticulously researched. THE WEST tells the story of a unique part of the country and provides a metaphor for the country as a whole.