Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research 2:1 (February 1992), pp. 146-147. Copyright © 1992 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Used by permission.


Clive S. Thomas has edited a fascinating collection of works in Politics and Public Policy in the Contemporary American West. Scholars of public policy, especially those in the 13 states west of the l00th meridian, now have an excellent resource in Thomas' edited work.

Thomas sets the stage of the book by identifying ten enduring characteristics of western politics (p. 8). Those characteristics include political pragmatism, political individualism, direct democracy, regionalism and sectionalism, candidate-oriented elections, weak political parties and strong interest groups, weak political institutions, the dominance of economic development, dependence on government, and the paradox between myth and reality of western development. These characteristics are illustrated frequently throughout the text.