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The West: An Illustrated History
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The West: An Illustrated History

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  180 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
The creators of the landmark public television series The Civil War and Baseball present a lavishly illustrated companion book to the forthcoming series tracing the history of the West. TV tie-in. $300,000 ad/promo. BOMC, History, & QPB Main.
Hardcover, 445 pages
Published December 21st 2008 by Pub Overstock Unlimited Inc (first published September 3rd 1996)
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Jul 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: history-old-west
Great introduction to the history of the American West. For someone like me, who has always been interested in that period of our history, but hadn't read much on the topic, this is a great "first book". The photographs are fantastic. You can spend all day just browsing this book, going back in time via the photography.

Being a companion book to a PBS documentary series it reads like a Ken Burns film. Because of this, the narrative jumps around a lot, and for the most part provides brief snipets
Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the first famished Spaniards who washed up on Galveston Island to the flamboyant escapades of John C. Fremont. This book has the west pretty much covered. Overall you begin to get the impression that the settlers pulled no punches in those dusty roughhouse days. Taking care not to leave any buffalo alive nor any "savage" Injian outside of his pen. It seems to be a history written largely in blood and greed. It was gold or it was land or... god knows what, if it had a price, someone was goin ...more
Accurate historical and detailed portrayals of the oppression of the Native American tribes living in the west, the decimation of their people, the displacement of their homes and villages and the destruction of their culture as the White Man wanted more and more of lands that were never their own to take.
Apr 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
This was an audioversion of 'An Illustrated History' which I found at the library. It goes along with a series by Ken Burns.


The stories. Varied in tone and texture, covering MOST (more about that later) of the major players in the American West.

The narration. Done by the author and more like a story than a history.

The writing. Vivid and interesting.


The music. What's with the dramatic music now and then? Very distracting, at times, louder than the narration. Really irritating.

James Eckman
Feb 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Why I originally checked this out for the photos, which while good, were not the kind I was looking for. Instead I found myself reading and skimming many of the articles which included minorities, Mormons and Indians. Interesting stuff. Not much manifest destiny like earlier books on the subject.

It would be a good introduction to western expansion for young adults as well as older folks.
The panoramic sweep of this book is impressive. I read (or should I say "browsed") though this companion book while watching the Ken Burns' documentary of the same name, and found that the book expanded on subjects I wanted to pursue in more depth. That it to say, the book stands on its own. Wonderful illustrations -- just as a visual browse this is a good resource.
Daniel Evans
Jul 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very informative in exposing both sides of the west, white and red. It time-lines the events and hardships that where performed and documents how the west was won.
It's haunting pictures/daguerreotypes help illustrate the easy-to-read paragraphs, and give a personal sense between reader and character.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the collaborative aspect of this work. The West developed as a combination of many efforts, and that's true of this book as well. Thorough, informative, and entertaining, this book functions perfectly as a short college seminar on The History of The American West. Love.
Jaime Contreras
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
this is an incredible reference about the westward expansion of the US and the people who lived it. This was printed a a companion to the PBS series. This large book is full of stories, facts and history.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this. I learned a lot of interesting things I hadn't known.
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read, re-read and read again.
Wonderful photos and the layout is easy on the eyes
Kathleen McRae
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The pictures in this book are evocative and really add to the dialogue. A very interesting book!
Oct 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
PBS DVD. Interesting, but focused mostly on how the US took the land from the Indians. A sad time in our history.
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
hey, if you watch Deadwood you must look at this book to verify accuracy now and again.
Feb 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A kaleidoscope of stories about the settling of the west. I enjoyed most the parts about Spanish settlement before U.S. migration.
Aug 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Look at the author . . . you know you have a quality job in this book. Filled with photos of old time players and teams and a lot of stories.
Alisha Bennett
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Geoffrey Champion Ward is an author and screenwriter of various documentary presentations of American history. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1962.

He was an editor of American Heritage magazine early in his career. He wrote the television mini-series The Civil War with its director Ken Burns and has collaborated with Burns on every documentary he has made since, including Jazz and Baseball.
More about Geoffrey C. Ward...

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