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.


This book has 660 pages of text, 102 of notes, plus a very long Bibliography and thorough index. This reviewer has read everything but the Index and some of the Bibliography. I can report that except for avid fans of Slotkin or of the genres on which he chooses to report, this is far more reading than is needed to get his principalidea. It is: a Myth (his caps) about the frontier-the violent conquest of indigenous people and landscape-has been the well spring of American national identity. The truth of this is not relevant to his book: he labors to show that the Myth really has been the cause of all sorts of bad things about the US, including racism, anti-labor violence, imperialism, and the Vietnam War.