Writing Western History Etulain, Richard W. Essays on Major Western Historians

The current diversity and vitality of the study of western history are indebted to the scholarly pioneers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who established western history as a viable discipline and defined some of its principal themes. In Writing Western History, distinguished historian of the West Richard Etulain has gathered eleven essays by some of today's most talented western historians on ten of the discipline's early students, and the result is a fascinating survey of the evolution of a scholarly field and ways the study of history reflects the concerns and interests of the society around it.The earliest depictions of the American West -- in the form of Wild West shows and pulp fiction -- held little scholarly merit. Not until intellectual and native Californian, Josiah Royce, and bookseller and famed book collector, Hubert Howe Bancroft saw the importance of preserving the rapidly vanishing record of their state's early history and other scholars focused their efforts on their,own regions was the study of western history acknowledged as a legitimate and worthy pursuit. Frederick Jackson Turner turned the attention of historians all over the country to the significance of the West in the formation of American character and culture, and his ideas, however disputed they are today, remain the foundation upon or against which subsequent scholars have based their work.Each essay in the book analyzes the background and work of a single western historian, setting each scholar into the intellectual context of his times and analyzing his contributions and limitations. Etulain's cogent introduction and afterword provide a linking commentary on the individualessays and remind us that the study of history is never static, never isolated from the cultural world. Originally published in 1991, this new edition includes a new foreword by historian Glenda Riley.


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