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Potomac Books


Empires, Nations, and Families, Empires, Nations, and Families, 0803224052, 0-8032-2405-2, 978-0-8032-2405-6, 9780803224056, Anne F. Hyde , History of the American West, Empires, Nations, and Families, 0803236166, 0-8032-3616-6, 978-0-8032-3616-5, 9780803236165, Anne F. Hyde , History of the American West, Empires, Nations, and Families, 0803245831, 0-8032-4583-1, 978-0-8032-4583-9, 9780803245839, Anne F. Hyde , History of the American Wes

Empires, Nations, and Families
A History of the North American West, 1800-1860
Anne F. Hyde

2011. 648 pp.
$45.00 s

To most people living in the West, the Louisiana Purchase made little difference: the United States was just another imperial overlord to be assessed and manipulated. This was not, as Empires, Nations, and Families makes clear, virgin wilderness discovered by virtuous Anglo entrepreneurs. Rather, the United States was a newcomer in a place already complicated by vying empires. This book documents the broad family associations that crossed national and ethnic lines and that, along with the river systems of the trans-Mississippi West, formed the basis for a global trade in furs that had operated for hundreds of years before the land became part of the United States.
Empires, Nations, and Families shows how the world of river and maritime trade effectively shifted political power away from military and diplomatic circles into the hands of local people. Tracing family stories from the Canadian North to the Spanish and Mexican borderlands and from the Pacific Coast to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, Anne F. Hyde’s narrative moves from the earliest years of the Indian trade to the Mexican War and the gold rush era. Her work reveals how, in the 1850s, immigrants to these newest regions of the United States violently wrested control from Native and other powers, and how conquest and competing demands for land and resources brought about a volatile frontier culture—not at all the peace and prosperity that the new power had promised.

Anne F. Hyde is a professor of history at Colorado College. She is the author of An American Vision: Far Western Landscape and National Culture and coauthor, with William Deverell, of The West in the History of the Nation.

"Hyde weaves her stories together to create a solid and provocative argument in Empires, Nations, and Families, a book that is not only well researched and presented but instantly absorbing."—Adrienne Caughfield, Journal of American History

"Students of the Great Plains and the nineteenth-century West in general, at whatever level, will be well rewarded by a reading of Anne Hyde's fine book."—Walter Nugent, Great Plains Quarterly

 "Hyde's volume is a superb telling of a tale familiar to students of the American West but presented in a new, enlivening manner that will make readers remember why they love frontier American history so very much."—Patricia Ann Owens, The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

“The nuanced and complex narrative contextualizes the experiences of individuals, families, and communities. . . . Taking a unique approach that emphasizes the importance of family networks and integrating a newer generation of scholarship to explain the social and cultural dynamics of the West, Hyde has produced a substantial and highly original interpretation of the period [1800–61]. . . . An excellent work and a major contribution to the historiography of the North American West.”—John Husmann, South Dakota History

“The strength of [Hyde’s] work lies in her ability to assemble and integrate a vast amount of secondary work into a thematic framework that emphasizes the important role kinship structures played in shaping the economic and social structures of the West prior to 1860.”—James E. Sherow, Kansas History


“This is an important and useful book, and it should find a large readership.”—Katrine Barber, Oregon Historical Quarterly

Winner of the 2012 Bancroft Prize
2012 Pulitzer Prize Finalist

Publication of this volume was assisted by The Virginia Faulkner Fund, established in memory of Virginia Faulkner, editor in chief of the University of Nebraska Press.

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Native America, Discovered and Conquered
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