The Golden West


The Golden West

Fifty Years of Bison Books

Edited by Alicia Christensen
Introduction by David Wrobel

248 pages


March 2011


$16.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In the fifty years since its inception in 1961, the Bison Books imprint at the University of Nebraska Press has published some of the best historical, literary, and original western literature. The Golden West celebrates that continuing mission, bringing together some of the most beloved and iconic stories of the American West. Here, readers will find the classic West: from the adventures of the Corps of Discovery to the trials of the Oregon Trail, from the diverse landscapes of the Great Plains to the rugged Rocky Mountains and the Willamette Valley, from traditional Sioux culture to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and from the cowboys, ranchers, farmers, and mountaineers who often make up our western mythology  to their American Indian counterpoints in stories about tribal society, monumental battles, and interaction with white settlers. The Golden West holds something for every reader—fiction, poetry, memoir, folklore, firsthand accounts, and all the shades of gray in between.

Author Bio

Alicia Christensen is the Bison Books editor at the University of Nebraska Press and the editor of American Lives: A Reader (available in a Bison Books edition). David Wrobel is a professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is the author of Promised Lands: Promotion, Memory, and the Creation of the American West.
Excerpts include works by: Bess Streeter Aldrich, the descendants of Nicholas Black Elk, Willa Cather, William Clark, Ella Cara Deloria, Kenneth L. Holmes, David Lavender, Meriwether Lewis, Ralph Moody, Wright Morris, John G. Neihardt, Tillie Olsen, Louise Pound, Mari Sandoz, Jack Schaefer, Luther Standing Bear, Wallace Stegner, Elinore Pruitt Stewart, and Mildred Walker.


The Golden West contains wonderful selections, provocatively arranged. Reading, I felt the pleasure of encountering old friends but also a stab of envy for the young readers who will travel these realms of gold for the first time.”—Mary Clearman Blew, author of Jackalope Dreams, winner of the Western Heritage Center’s prize for fiction
“In this fine collection, the American West is defined by war, optimism, adventure, despair, discovery, innovation, hopelessness, and prosperity. This is the American West as it really was—sometimes rough and wild, other times serene and domesticated—told through the beautiful language of authors who wrote what they lived, and whose lives were shaped, as all our lives are, by the place they called home.”—Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate (2004–06) and Pulitzer Prize–winning author

" A worthy compilation of a range of Great Plains and Western topics, The Golden West is the latest in the important contributions the University of Nebraska Press continues to make to our understanding of this region and its people."—Omaha World Herald

"This is an important book with some of the best Bison Books has to offer."—James W. Durney

Table of Contents

Preface: A Celebration of Bison Books
Introduction: The West and America: The National Significance of Regional Writing
David Wrobel
O Pioneers!
Willa Cather
Plains Song: For Female Voices
Wright Morris
Ella Cara Deloria
My People the Sioux
Luther Standing Bear
Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers
Ralph Moody
Jack Schaefer
One Man's West
David Lavender
Black Elk Lives: Conversations with the Black Elk Family
Esther Black Elk DeSersa, Olivia Black Elk Pourier, Aaron DeSersa Jr., and Clifton DeSersa
A Cycle of the West: The Song of the Indian Wars
John G. Neihardt
Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas
Mari Sandoz
Nebraska Folklore
Louise Pound
A Lantern in Her Hand
Bess Streeter Aldrich
Winter Wheat
Mildred Walker
Yonnondio: From the Thirties
Tillie Olsen
Letters of a Woman Homesteader
Elinore Pruitt Stewart
Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails
Kenneth L. Holmes
The Lewis and Clark Journals: An American Epic of Discovery
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail
Wallace Stegner
Source Acknowledgments
Discussion Questions

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