In Mountain Shadows: A History of Idaho

In Mountain Shadows: A History of Idaho

In Mountain Shadows: A History of Idaho

In Mountain Shadows: A History of Idaho


In this history, Carlos A. Schwantes illustrates the extent to which Idahoans have always been divided by geography, transportation, patterns, religion, and history.


During the past several years I have received many requests for a concise history of Idaho that captures the essence of the state's heritage. "Idaho history in a nutshell," one person called it. That is what I seek to provide in this volume, a relatively brief book that traces main themes yet keeps in mind that history is about people, not just dates and facts, abstract forces and movements. Hence, everyday life receives special attention.

In narrating, analyzing, and instructing, I try to offer something useful not only to those who are already well versed in the subject but also to every reader who simply wants to know how Idaho evolved into the state it is today. What follows is in some ways an extended essay on the character of Idaho.

My hope is that In Mountain Shadows: A History of Idaho will inspire readers to seek out books and articles mentioned in the Suggestions for Further Reading and to pursue special subjects in depth. Of particular value are the articles in Idaho Yesterdays, a quarterly journal published by the Idaho State Historical Society since 1957, and Pacific Northwest Quarterly.

I have profited from the advice of many people, but I alone must take responsibility for the topics covered and any errors of fact or judgment that may appear in the following pages. For the various forms of help they gave me, I want to thank Terry Abraham, head of Special Collections at the University of Idaho, and Lois Ackaret, also of Special Collections; Craig Harline, my colleague in the Department of History; Lawrence Merk, director of . . .

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