One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark

One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark

One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark

One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark


This magnificent, sweeping work traces the histories of the Native peoples of the American West from their arrival thousands of years ago to the early years of the nineteenth century. Emphasizing conflict and change, One Vast Winter Count offers a new look at the early history of the region by blending ethnohistory, colonial history, and frontier history. Drawing on a wide range of oral and archival sources from across the West, Colin G. Calloway offers an unparalleled glimpse at the lives of generations of Native peoples in a western land soon to be overrun.


Historical writing about the American West has undergone dramatic changes in the past half century. Specifically, western historians have moved away from the frontier thesis of Frederick Jackson Turner and turned in new directions: Authors such as Henry Nash Smith and Earl Pomeroy have helped us understand how mythic Wests and western imitations of European and eastern American traditions have shaped the history of the region. Other recent western histories highlight the roles of racial and ethnic groups, women and families, and urbanization in the development of the West. And widely recognized today is a New Western History that treats the darker, more complex sides of the region's past.

These historiographical shifts compel us to ask new questions about the history of the American West and to reexamine the past in light of our experiences in the late twentieth and early twentieth-first centuries. Fresh sociocultural, demographic, and environmental topics are being addressed; for many specialists in the field, the regional West has supplanted the frontier West, with place being emphasized more than process.

It's time for a new comprehensive history of the American West, one that reflects new scholarship without overlooking past perspectives. The History of the American West series doesjust that. A history of the region in six volumes, it builds on these recent historiographical developments of gender, ethnicity, and the environment. The volumes reflect current thought about the West as a region, provide ajudicious blend of old and new subject matter, and offer narratives that appeal to specialists and general readers.

Colin Calloway meets all these goals in this initial volume of the series. He has produced an exhaustively researched and smoothly written study of the Native American West from prehistory to 1800. Beginning his volume with what he calls the “ancient history” of the human past, Calloway . . .

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