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Does the Frontier Experience Make America Exceptional?
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Does the Frontier Experience Make America Exceptional?

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Does the frontier experience make America exceptional? When Frederick Jackson Turner presented this idea in 1893 as the core of his now-famous thesis, he set in motion a debate that historians of the American West have contended with ever since. The concept of a frontier, a moving boundary that defined civilization and circumscribed the Wild West, was not new — though the ...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published April 16th 1999 by Bedford/St. Martin's
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The shadow of Frederick Jackson Turner looms large. His 1893 essay on the frontier is arguably the most important piece of historical writing produced by an American. Here's another place to read it again--and it deserves to be read again.

This collection includes Richard White's excellent piece, "When Frederick Jackson Turner and Buffalo Bill Cody Both Played Chicago in 1893," and installments by other luminaries--Donald Worster, Patricia Limerick, Elliot West, etc. (What?! no William Cronon?!)

Matthew Hurley
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
All right, so I may have skipped an essay or two, but I read what was assigned. I'll probably look over the others later, but what I read was intriguing. I came down on the more Turnerian side, probably reacting to the over-reactionary anti-Turnerians. I think Turner has a valid analysis, but one which never should have been taken to the extremes it was. Still, I buy into the significance of his frontier thesis more than some.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Yes, I read the whole thing and I liked it not so much for the historic implications but for the mechanics of the debates. Seeing Worcester take on Turner was fun. I probably wouldn't have enjoyed this book if it weren't for my teacher (and incidentally the chapter on women is very clearly part of the 80s history movement).
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, us-history
The essays in this book are invaluable for students as it helps put the Frontier Thesis into perspective. While Turner was a progressive and some of his ideas are rather limited, the Frontier Thesis was accepted as-is for nearly 100 years. The other essays in the book clarify and build on Turner's ideas as well as introduce other ways of looking at the American West.
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Everyone who has gone to an American school has heard of the Turner frontier thesis - that is the idea that the American frontier closed in 1890 and so did a significant part of American history. I never actually read Turner's essay, so I was glad to find it inside this book along with other essays about this particular idea.

Very good book.
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Turner's thesis is an incredible achievement. Unique ideas and exceptional ideas lead to growth in frontier history. This book does a great job explaining the criticisms of Turner's thesis while still explaining the things he has done so well. Overall this is an easy read and will provide its readers with a unique perspective on the history of the west as well as the criticisms of Turner.
Jan 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Well-organized with good essay selections (excepting the Riley one). It makes the reader think in all the right ways.
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