"aan impressive new booka The Forgotten Founders is a gem that
encompasses virtually every aspect of the development of our
region." -ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS
" Udall offers a convincing argument that it wasn't the cavalry,
fur traders, prospectors, gunslingers or railroad builders who
tamed the West; it was 'courageous men and women who made treks
into wilderness and created communities in virgin valleys.' Udall's
spare prose adds impact to his words." -THE SEATTLE TIMES
"The West is so cluttered with misconceptions that it is hard to
have a serious discussion about its history." --Wallace
For most Americans, the "Wild West" popularized in movies and pulp
novels -- a land of intrepid traders and explorers, warlike
natives, and trigger-happy gunslingers -- has become the true
history of the region. The story of the West's development is a
singular chapter of history, but not, according to former Secretary
of the Interior and native westerner Stewart L. Udall, for the
reasons filmmakers and novelists would have us believe.
In The Forgotten Founders, Stewart Udall draws on his vast
knowledge of and experience in the American West to make a
compelling case that the key players in western settlement were the
sturdy families who travelled great distances across forbidding
terrain to establish communities there. He offers an illuminating
and wide-ranging overview of western history and those who have
written about it, challenging conventional wisdom on subjects
ranging from Manifest Destiny to the importance of Eastern
capitalists to the role of religion in westward settlement.
Stewart Udall argues that the overblown and ahistorical emphasis
on a "wild west" haswarped our sense of the past. For the mythical
Wild West, Stewart Udall substitutes a compelling description of an
Old West, the West before the arrival of the railroads, which was
the home place for those he calls the "wagon people," the men and
women who came, camped, settled, and stayed. He offers a portrait
of the West not as a government creation or a corporate colony or a
Hollywood set for feckless gold seekers and gun fighters but as
primarily a land where brave and hardy people came to make a new
life with their families. From Native Americans to Franciscan
friars to Mormon pioneers, these were the true settlers, whose
goals, according to Stewart Udall were "amity not conquest;
stability, not strife; conservation, not waste; restraint, not
aggression." The Forgotten Founders offers a provocative new look
at one of the most important chapters of American history, rescuing
the Old West and its pioneers from the margins of history where
latter-day mythmakers have dumped them. For anyone interested in
the authentic history of the American West, it is an important and
exciting new work.
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