Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2004


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 14, No. 2, 2004. Copyright © 2004 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


This book is a true magnum opus-large in its 640 pages of text, and a major work of exploration well beyond the author's previous scholarly bailiwick. The period covered includes the seventeenth century to the 1930s but concentrates on the nineteenth century. Dividing its focus on two main subjects, the study first traces the stories of the European "migration fever" over the three centuries and offers a thorough commentary on how the discourse on migration developed in various European countries ("Theories et Propagande"). From an early date the British took a lead in publishing accounts of explorations, scientific reports, and eventually emigrant guides. This interest intersected with British imperial expansion. There is an argument that overcoming the difficulties of the Irish "plantations" provided a settlement model that could be applied in a new land. The status of emigration modulated over time, from being one of the tools of subjugation of indigenes to being, by the nineteenth century, a good in itself.