Our understanding of the American West has moved far beyond pop culture in recent years. The legendary people and events we associate with the Wild West - the last stand at the Alamo, the Battle of Little Bighorn, the exploits of Calamity Jane, the hardships of the Oregon Trail - are even more fascinating once the historical realities have been separated from the myths.
Designed to shine a light on the American frontier, these 24 lectures are a way for you to experience the grit and grandeur of an epic period in American history. Professor Allitt uncovers new historical angles and perspectives about events and themes ranging from the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Indian Removal Act to the creation America's first national parks.
You'll cover more than 200 years of history and the most important events, themes, and ideas that form the backbone of the frontier's reality - and legend. Among these: the Transcontinental Railroad, the idea of Manifest Destiny, the Gold Rush, the Trail of Tears, and (yes) cowboys. You'll also learn how popular culture - novels like Little House on the Prairie, paintings by artists like Frederic Remington, and decades of Western films - can actually clue us in to the intimate details of life for everyday men and women.
Saddle up for an exciting adventure in learning.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
Any additional comments?
I bought this course because I had listened to and enjoyed others by Professor Allitt. I'm glad I did, for once again he has delivered an engaging and informative series of lectures. Professor Allitt offers listeners a broad historical perspective on the opening of the American West, clearly explaining the context and significance of each topic he covers. What I liked most, though, were the details, anecdotes and stories he used to evoke the flavour of this period. It's important to learn, for example, how the gold rush contributed to the evolution of California as a state, but hearing the specifics of how the gold was mined, of the dangerous technology and toxins that were used, helped me visualize the harsh lives of the miners.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
these lectures give a new meaning to the Wild West. from Lewis and Clark, Old Kentucky Home, Bloody Kansas, Trail of Tears, Little Big Horn, Mormon pioneers, Gold Rush days, John Wesley Powell. I learned many things I did not know living in the West. I enjoyed these lectures and plan on reading some of the books The Professor suggest. the professor might be an Englishman but he knows his stuff about the West. I live in Utah and many of the things he said are true.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
very worthwhile and has got me wanting to know
much more about the diverse topics covered.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Or maybe how much you thought you knew but were wrong. I believed I knew quite a bit about the history of the West before I listened to this but it turns out my knowledge barely scratched the surface. The series provides a great overview of the history of the West. I've listened to many Great Courses lectures and some can be a drag to get through but not this one. This course kept me interested form beginning right up to the very end. One of my new favorites.
As with many Great Courses lectures like The Rise and Fall of Soviet Communism, I wish it were longer. Now I feel like I have to go read a book to learn as much as I can about it!
I have enormously enjoyed every course by Professor Allitt. I've lived in western states my whole life, but learned a great amount from these lectures, which, as with all of this professor's courses, are as entertaining as educational.
Excellent delivery of an unbiased look at the early development of the US west with a sprinkling of early US history.
As always with Allitt's lectures, I learned so much. In prior courses, I've been struck by how non-ideological he is. Not this time. Allitt is very passionate about Native Americans. In this course, I think that colored his lectures excessively.
Don't let the old westerns drive your mindset of the west. While Zane Grey wrote what could be the most drawn out stories of the wild wild west, "The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy" took the time and did the crime of highlighting the true grit of what was real and what that adventure was like.
I'm a big fan of this particular Great Course. I became interested in the West after reading numerous Douglas Present and Lincoln Child books.
This is way better than the dysentery and the old school Apple version of Oregon Trail. Professor Allitt really brings out the past in ways that encourage us to know the stories and be better story tellers ourselves.
As always A+ and AUDIBLE20
This was my first Great Courses listen and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well written and well read. I it won't be my last.