Publisher description for Into the West : the story of its people / Walter Nugent.
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This is a full-scale history of the people of the American West, from the ancestral Paleo-Indians, to the Spanish conquistadores and settlers, to the gold rushers, to the myriads who came from every direction in the twentieth century, right up to the late 1990s. Everyone is here -- whites from all over Europe and the United States, Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, and Native Americans. Some went west to homestead; others to find gold or, later, oil or the wealth of Silicon Valley; others followed California dreams, some out of Old West mythology; still others simply came to make better lives. This is a story of those millions who came -- on foot, on horseback, in wagons, by train, by car, by plane -- into the West.
Walter Nugent offers a new and fascinating perspective on all the groups who settled and transformed the region. He explains how California became not only the most urban state in the West but also the most populous and most ethnically mixed state in the country. He explores such questions as why African-Americans in the early 1900s regarded Oakland and Denver as more tolerant than San Francisco or Los Angeles; what happened to the second generation of Mormons after the large western migration of the 1840s; who the real "Dust Bowl migrants" of the 1930s were; and how the New Deal, as well as federal laws on homesteading, irrigation, defense, and immigration, changed the face of the West.
Here as well are the tribulations of the many involuntary migrants to, within, or out of the West: Native Americans moved in the 1830s and again in the 1870s and 1880s; Mexicans "repatriated" between 1929 and 1933; Japanese-Americans interned during World War II; and Vietnamese forced to move after 1973.
Finally, Nugent examines the West of today: why the coastal and Sunbelt West and the interior West are experiencing such a radical cultural divergence. And he tells us what he projects, on the basis of recent trends, is likely to happen to the people of the West in the next half century.
For several hundred years, the West has been a microcosm of the American ideal of e pluribus unum--making many into one. Will it continue to follow this course?
With 32 pages of photographs and 17 maps
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: West (U, S, ) History, West (U, S, ) Population, West (U, S, ) Ethnic relations, West (U, S, ) Race relations, Land settlement West (U, S, ) History