Thursday, May 22, 2008

History of the American Frontier, 1763-1893 - Winner, Non-Fiction, 1925

History of the American Frontier, 1763-1893
By: Frederic L. Paxson
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1924

A major theme in the first century, especially, of the history of the United States of America is the freedom to pack up one's life and head to a new, unexplored territory. The first colonists did this and generation after generation sought to expand, to find a better life in the vast unknown. Paxson's History of the American Frontier gives a good overview of this movement westward into the frontier.

The book is divided into relatively short chapters which helps to keep the reader from being overwhelmed by the immense amount of factual information being presented. Interestingly, each chapter could almost be read entirely independently from the others. The chapters are topical and, though they follow a general chronology, sometimes go back and forth in time leaving the reader with a mild sense of vertigo as he/she tries to remember exactly where things fit together.

The information in this book is interesting in small pieces, but as a whole I found the book to be a bit overwhelming in it's factual content.

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