Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

August 1993


Published in Great Plains Research 3:2 (August 1993). Copyright © 1993 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Environmental studies is a growing field that brings new knowledge almost every day and certainly with every press's new listings. Many Western social scientists are attracted to it as a means of explicating the past, present, and future of North America. It is not new to Western historians. James C. Malin and Walter Prescott Webb were two pathfinders in studies of the environment over five to seven decades ago, but ecological impacts on human actions were somewhat forgotten by historians in the interim. During the past fifteen years environmental history has become a staple in studies of the American West. What is new is the importance of environmental history to an overall understanding of the American legacy and the placement of it within mainstream considerations of the social sciences. With this in mind, Under an Open Sky offers the reader several important environmental considerations to ponder.