Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 16:1 (Winter 1996). Copyright © 1996 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


This important book initiates a new series on The Modern American West edited by Gerald D. Nash. In it the author not only documents the critical role cities have played in the development of the West since World War II, but claims that those cities really personify the three mythic images of the West as locus of democracy, opportunity, and individual fulfillment. Defining the West as all of the Great Plains and Pacific States, Carl Abbott examines mid-size cities as well as large, but concentrates on the impact of metropolises like Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Houston on the entire region. One of the book's most compelling arguments is the complete dominance of Western cities over the region's hinterland.