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The American West

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  430 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Dee Brown is most renowned for authoring the all-time bestselling book on the West, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", which has sold more than 5,000,000 copies in English and has had countless translations the world over. This was the first fully realized, sympathetic history of Native Americans and became an immediate classic. Here, now, is "The American West", a brilliant ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by Scribner Book Company
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Jan 27, 2016 Antigone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
World War II found librarian Dee Brown stationed in Washington, DC. He was assigned to Army Ground Forces headquarters at the old Army War College. Here he met fellow librarian Martin Schmitt and, through the course of their service together, they bonded over a shared interest in Western history. Their duties sometimes brought them to the Signal Corps photograph files stored at the Pentagon - a treasure trove of ancient images, the most compelling of which were cached in the Indian Wars collecti ...more
Chris G Derrick
Apr 29, 2015 Chris G Derrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western-factual
This was my second read (the last was years ago now) - and overall I enjoyed it once more.
Numerous different topics are touched on in the course of the book.
Some of them could have been dealt with in greater detail to my way of thinking. I was left wanting to know more on several occasions.
The Introduction looks at what was involved in gathering the source information required to put the novel together.
A lot of work!
To my way of thinking the last chapter (Law, Order and Politics) doesn't allow
Jan 11, 2011 Derek rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Imagine that you own a television that can only play multiple iterations of the History Channel. Imagine also that on your dozens of History Channels, all are focused on discussing the American west. Imagine, lastly, that Dee Brown is sitting next to you with the remote control, and he won't stop changing the fucking channel. That's pretty much what American West is like.

For every section that begins to become interesting, Brown almost immediately switches gears and moves onto a new subject, and
Elle Druskin
Jun 23, 2011 Elle Druskin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book even if not new. If you want a good overview of the settling of the West, the cowboys, Native Americans, soldiers, dance hall girls, gamblers, settlers, thieves, con artists and more, this is good start.
Jun 25, 2011 Humkeb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love reading about American west!
Gail Strickland
Apr 24, 2015 Gail Strickland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost like watching a whole Saturday's worth of John Wayne movies.
Jun 13, 2011 Humkeb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like to read about the early west.
Sherri Anderson
What a snooze. Hard to keep awake reading this book. A few interesting facts but it was the stories never heard before about famous people that kept me going what? Where did you get that fact. Made me wonder how much was made up.
Mar 30, 2014 Ralph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
"American West" is the synthesis of Brown's and Schmitt's three earliest books--"Fighting Indians of the West," "Trail Driving Days," and "The Settlers' West"--and in the introduction he tells how they researched and wrote those books during and just after World War II, while the both of them were stationed in Washington D.C., as Army librarians. Also in the introduction, Brown tells how the American West has morphed from a reality into a myth, and even a metaphor. But he points out, "Today it h ...more
Sam Reaves
Dee Brown wrote Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which is a passionate, unsparing indictment of European America for its destruction of the American Indian peoples. It made his reputation and definitively shifted the consensus about what happened in the American West in the nineteenth century. After Bury My Heart you couldn't make the Indians the bad guys in your movie any more.
This is a very different book, a wide-ranging general history of the settling and development of the west. The focus of t
Jun 17, 2010 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-project
The American West is more or less a collection of short histories of various events and topics related to the settling of the states between the Mississippi and California in the second half of the century. Dee Brown is the author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee so his stories of the major "Indian Wars" are well documented and, naturally, very sad. Each one seems to further reduce ways of life along with territories. While George Washington and other early presidents may have struggled with the ...more
Ken Mahieu
While this 410 page book has a pub date of 1994, most of the material comes from three earlier books written in the 50's by the same authors, Dee Brown and Martin Schmitt. These are "Fighting Indians of the West", "Trail Driving Days", and "The Settler's West". The book includes over 50 very interesting photos and about 20 helpful and well illustrated maps. For the most part, the material was interesting, but there were passages when it seemed to slip into the 50's textbook approach of too many ...more
David Eppenstein
I enjoyed this book but found it somewhat lacking. I have read some other histories and biographies of the West in the last few years that were much more detailed with greater depth of treatment to their subjects. This book was more of a survey of the history and evolution of the West in its entirety and as such was rather a cursory treatment of many facets of the West, its people, its culture, and its politics. If you are interested in learning a little bit about a broad range of the West then ...more
Todd Stockslager
This book is compiled from separate photohistory books Brown and a photoeditor wrote about Indians, cowboys, and settlers. The cowboy and settler parts of the book (there is no attempt to integrate the three threads) would have been a "worth my time" on their own. The Indian part reads too much like an over-condensed version of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. There are too many names with too little description and it is written at such a high level that it ...more
Abraham Gustavson
I wanted a survey of the American West, this book delivered about half of what I was looking for. My main complaint is that Dee Brown jumps from story to story with little regard to chronology or story-telling. Some of the chapters are interesting, specifically chapters on the different Native American tribes of the West. The chapter on Wounded Knee made me want to read Brown's Book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. But overall I found the book too focused on the Dakotas and Wyoming in particular. ...more
Jan 20, 2013 Brent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I really enjoyed this brief and sweeping retelling of the Old West and its conflicts. The book succeeded in fascinating me with cattle, cowmen, and ranchers. When Brown revisits the conflicts with Native Americans, he is authoritative, brief, and still heartbreaking, as in Bury My Heart, his earlier book. He's great on outlaws and social forces in brief. Pictures are well chosen by an old colleague from old collections, a described in the Preface. This had me considering that the book appeared j ...more
Nov 13, 2014 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't realize that Dee Brown was a librarian! Comprehensive explanation of settlement of states west of the Mississippi from 1830-early 1900's with many interesting details & stories. Overall told in chronological order, but overlapping necessary to discuss various regions, occasionally this was distracting.

Maps were minimally helpful - showed places not discussed but didn't show all places discussed. Some photos have been become famous, others are seldom seen in other sources. The captio
Larry Van Bibber
Aug 03, 2012 Larry Van Bibber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-lib

Very interesting panoramic history of the West. Short on detail but covers a broad range of western history and adds some insights that I have not gotten from more detailed histories in terms of interactions between several famous people.I received a much better understanding of Charles Goodnight and his major impacts.

Aug 23, 2012 Corey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pioneers, Spaniards, frontiersmen, trappers, soldiers, outlaws, Native Americans collide in the American West. I focused on the tribes and Native Americans like Geronimo, Cochise, Victorio who lived in the southwest and the historical parts taking place in New MExico like the Lincoln County War and Billy the Kidd. Dee Brown is known for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee which everyone should read.
Feb 07, 2016 Jonathan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm don't have a particular interest in American history. I knew that Dee Brown wrote Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee and I loved the film. There is nothing actually wrong with this book. I just didn't get on with the style of writing. For me if you want to hear about the history of the West then watch Ken Burns' documentary series.
Apr 23, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read, and a good intro into the American West. Not an exhaustive study or history of the era, but good starting point and pretty much all you need, if you just have a passing interest in the subject. The book does focus alot on Native Americans and their wars and interaction with the settlers, soliders and ranchers. Overall a facinating glimpse into a facinating era of American history.
Eric Molicki
Dec 15, 2012 Eric Molicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
We head out west in a month and this has provided a good general 30k foot overview of western history. The writing is dated, but the photos are excellent and the right amount of detail is given most of the time to keep the flow moving.
Nov 06, 2015 Roxanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is great book about the American West. It tells the story of the westwards march, the longhorns and pioneers, cattle and cowboys and the Indian Chiefs. It also talks about Dodge City, Kansas, the wild west shows, and law and order in the frontier. It has maps and photos also.
May 08, 2013 Fraser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really interesting read, stripping away something of the mythology of the pioneering west as filtered through folk tales and Hollywood.

Very enjoyable read, and looking forward to more of the same.
This western primer tells the stories of Native Americans, settlers, cowboys, miners, and ranchers. The narrative explains in a straightforward manner the conflicts, struggles, and conquests that led to settlement of the West. lj
Oct 07, 2013 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really liked my first foray into American history, but just as I was getting interested in a particular subject the next chapter would go elsewhere. This I found a little frustrating. Will read more from this Author in the future
Jeroen in UK
Very interesting book and a nice compliment to the other Wild West book I just read. Can wait for this Summer
Jan 12, 2009 Jarred rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vividly written book that covers the major stories and themes of the history of the American West.
Dan Sullivan
Dec 26, 2014 Dan Sullivan marked it as own-these-books  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardback
I use this book as a text for my History of the West course that I teach in a high school setting. Brown covers much of the experiences with a wealth of photos.
Pedro Plassen
Feb 02, 2009 Pedro Plassen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Great introduction on the American West history. In the end you think how America can preach Democracy and Freedom knowing what they did to the Indians.
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ws 1 3 Dec 03, 2015 09:09PM  
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Dorris Alexander “Dee” Brown (1908–2002) was a celebrated author of both fiction and nonfiction, whose classic study Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is widely credited with exposing the systematic destruction of American Indian tribes to a world audience. Brown was born in Louisiana and grew up in Arkansas. He worked as a reporter and a printer before enrolling at Arkansas State Teachers College, wh ...more
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“Participants in the massacre were later tried in Tucson and acquitted. To murder an Indian was considered no crime.” 2 likes
“Quanah Parker. As the years went by he became a shrewd businessman, built a large house, and successfully managed his farm and ranch. He traveled all over the country, and went to Washington to ride in President Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade.” 1 likes
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