Thursday, August 5, 2010

The American Space Program, prior to 1848.

Western Places, American Myths How We Think About the West / edited by Gary L. Hausladen. Published by the University of Nevada Press, 2003. 343 p. ISBN 978-0-87417-662-9. Illustrations, Maps, Tables, and Index.

There are as many iconic images of the American West as people like us who dream about them: the features a cowboy’s sun-drenched face and hat against the “Western sky”, a pioneering woman wearing an apron, with hands clasped around the handle of a broom, or perhaps a gun, hard eyes searching the horizon beyond, an indigenous man in black vest and striped shirt from his life in the city but whose demeanor angles away from the lens keeping the secrets of his ancestry safe. Do we actually know these people or do our dreams constantly recreate them? Could we confidently point to the real border between the American East and West? And if our history is solidly rooted in fact, does it cover the effect that open space has had on the American culture?

Hauslauden’s selection of essays is divided into three parts: Continuity and Change; Enduring Regional Voices; and the West as Visionary Place. The book is illustrated with images about the land and the peoples' imprints on it, and its contributors have envisaged the past and certain influences that have given the West its character, which is evolving even today. Since this is a collection of essays about claims to the lands known as the Western United States by different groups of people, there is very little importance attached to the usual nodes of interaction -- the cities. Instead these historians have the unusual task of exploring connections people have made because of sustenance, spiritual quest, curiosity, personal, or political and environmental desires, to become Westernized.

Books in the Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library are available for Museum members. See the book Gold, Silk, Pioneers & Mail : from the California Gold Fields to the China Trade, the Story of Pacific Mail Steamship Company by Robert J. Chandler and Stephen J. Potash in our online catalog.

Passenger ships to the West: see expertly built models at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

Learn more about California history at the
California State Archives
, including the state constitutions, Family Histories, Oral Histories, Spanish and Mexican Land Grants, and Photographic Collections.

Archives and special collections are available to the public at the National Archives, Pacific Region, the National Park Service, California, and the Autry National Center of the American West.
Note other books on the subject of the American West at the University of Nevada Press.

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