Over the decades, numerous pundits and pessimists have announced the end of the West, Western films, Western novels, Western music and Western culture. The fact is that the West—and what it was, what it is and what it might be—is in the news every day in film and television, in print, on the radio and the Internet.
On January 30, Amazon.com announced that the South Dakota Historical Society Press’s December 2014 release, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was the number one best seller. Number one! As we went to press, Pamela Smith Hill’s edited volume of the Wilder classic, written first in 1929-’30 was still number one in Amazon’s U.S. history category. Talk about the West being alive and relevant!
If you like Pioneer Girl, I recommend these three highly readable and useful annotated volumes for your library:
Richard C. Rattenbury’s A Legacy in Arms: American Firearm Manufacture, Design, and Artistry, 1800-1900 (University of Oklahoma Press, December 2014). [See cover story excerpt on page 22.]
Berndt Kühn’s Chronicles of War: Apache & Yavapai Resistance in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, 1821-1937 (Arizona Historical Society, November 2014).
R. Michael Wilson’s Stagecoach Robberies in California: A Complete Record, 1856-1913 (McFarland Publishing, September 2014).