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Book cover of The Great Plains

The Great Plains

by Walter Prescott Webb

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Pages: 542
Paperback
ISBN: 9780803297029






Available to Buy

Overview of The Great Plains

This classic description of the interaction between the vast central plains of America and the people who lived there has, since its first publication in 1931, been one of the most influential, widely known, and controversial works in western history. Arguing that "the Great Plains environment. . .constitutes a geographic unity whose influences have been so powerful as to put a characteristic mark upon everything that survives within its borders," Webb singles out the revolver, barbed wire, and the windmill as evidence of the new phase of civilization required for settlement of that arid, treeless region. Webb draws on history, anthropology, geography, demographics, climatology, and economics to substantiate his thesis that the 98th meridian constituted an institutional fault—comparable to a geological fault—at which "practically every institution that was carried across it was either broken and remade or else greatly altered."

Synopsis of The Great Plains

This classic description of the interaction between the vast central plains of America and the people who lived there has, since its first publication in 1931, been one of the most influential, widely known, and controversial works in western history. Arguing that "the Great Plains environment. . .constitutes a geographic unity whose influences have been so powerful as to put a characteristic mark upon everything that survives within its borders," Webb singles out the revolver, barbed wire, and the windmill as evidence of the new phase of civilization required for settlement of that arid, treeless region. Webb draws on history, anthropology, geography, demographics, climatology, and economics to substantiate his thesis that the 98th meridian constituted an institutional fault—comparable to a geological fault—at which "practically every institution that was carried across it was either broken and remade or else greatly altered."

The New York Times

"To the merits of sound scholarship and industrious research are to be added the possession of an easy and attractive style and abundant evidence of first-hand acquaintance with the conditions of Western Life. It is not too much to say that anyone who wishes to understand either the history or the present problems and state of mind of the Great Plains region will find this book indispensable."

About the Author, Walter Prescott Webb

One of the unquestionably major historians of the American West, Walter Prescott Webb taught at London University, Oxford, and the University of Texas. He was the author of a number of highly provocative books, including The Great Frontier and this, his most famous study, The Great Plains.

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Editorials

Henry Steele Commager

"One of the most original, suggestive, and thoughtful contributions to the science of history in recent years."

The New York Times

"To the merits of sound scholarship and industrious research are to be added the possession of an easy and attractive style and abundant evidence of first-hand acquaintance with the conditions of Western Life. It is not too much to say that anyone who wishes to understand either the history or the present problems and state of mind of the Great Plains region will find this book indispensable."—The New York Times

Henry Steele Commager

"One of the most original, suggestive, and thoughtful contributions to the science of history in recent years."—Henry Steele Commager

Available to Buy

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