The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890

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University of Oklahoma Press, 1998 - History - 636 pages
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In The Fatal Environment, Richard Slotkin demonstrates how the myth of frontier expansion and subjugation of the Indians helped to justify the course of Americaís rise to wealth and power. Using Custerís Last Stand as a metaphor for what Americans feared might happen if the frontier should be closed and the "savage" element be permitted to dominate the "civilized," Slotkin shows the emergence by 1890 of a myth redefined to help Americans respond to the confusion and strife of industrialization and imperial expansion.

  

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Mr. Slotkin emphasizes the figure of George Armstrong Custer in his second volume on the idea of "The Frontier" in American literary and political life. He once more exposes some of the seamier uses ... Read full review

Contents

The Frontier as Myth and Ideology
3
Myth and Historical Memory
13
History as
51
The Role of Cooper
81
Industrialization
109
Literary Responses to
191
Prophecy of the Iron Horse
211
The Ideology of Race Conflict 18481858
227
The Reconstruction of Class and Racial Symbolism
301
West Point Wall Street and the Wild West
373
Assembling the Last Stand
435
Literary Mythology and
499
NOTES
533
BIBLIOGRAPHY
597
INDEX
619
Copyright

William
242

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About the author (1998)

Richar Slotkin is the Olin Professor of American Studies at Wesleyan University. He is the author of Gunfighter Nation and Regeneration Through Violence, both National Book Award Finalists, and The Crater.

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