The Western Empire of Geography—and Geometry

Creating-the-American-WestIn 1877 the New York World opined that “the western states and territories occupy vast tracts, empires in themselves, and their rapid settlement will yet see divisions and subdivisions, changes that … may blot out all the territories and cut them up into well-peopled states.”

Derek R. Everett, in his innovative and well-written volume, Creating the American West: Boundaries and Borderlands (University of Oklahoma Press, $29.95), explains and interprets how boundaries have shaped the trans-Mississippi West from the colonial era to the present. In the end, according to Everett, geography played a secondary role to geometry in transforming the West, and that fact has impacted every dimension of life in the American West: social, cultural, economic and political.

—Jack L. August Jr., author of The Norton Trilogy

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