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OLD WEST

Books | Web Sites

Books

For Teachers

The Oxford History of the American West edited by Claude A. Milner II, Carol O'Connor and Martha A. Sandweiss. (Oxford University Press, 1996)
Composed of scholarly essays, this is a useful reference for research on a broad range of issues and topics.

The Story of the West edited by Robert Utley (DK, 2003)
From prehistoric hunters to present-day Silicon Valley, this is a social, political, cultural, and economic history told by a variety of historians in conjunction with the Smithsonian.

The West: An Illustrated History by Ken Burns and Geoffrey West. (Back Bay Books, 2003)
A companion volume to the PBS television series, this tells the story of the West, from the arrival of the first Europeans through the twentieth century.

Winning the Wild West: The Epic Saga of the American Frontier, 1800-1899 by Page Stegner. (Free Press, 2002)
Essays on various topics, profusely illustrated with paintings, photographs, and artifacts.

The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West by Candy Moulton. (Writer's Digest Books, 1999)
Writer's Guides to Everyday Life series. This book explores the details of daily life in the Wild West.
Another book from the "Writer's Guides to Everyday Life" series:

Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students and Historians by Marc McCutcheon.


For Students

Fiction

All the Stars in the Sky: The Santa Fe Trail Diary of Florrie Mack Ryder by Megan McDonald. (Scholastic, 2003)
Dear American series. When her widowed mother remarries, Florrie and her family travel on the Santa Fe Trail to make a new home in the West.

Between Earth and Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places by Joseph Bruchac. (Harcourt, 1996)
Native American legends, accompanied by spectacular paintings, tell of the majesty and miracle of the land we share.

The Case of the Deadly Ha-Ha Game by John R. Erickson. (Viking, 2001)
Hank the Cowdog and his sidekick Drover try to defeat Rip and Snort, the evil coyote brothers, with the deadly Ha-Ha game.

Cowboys by Glen Rounds. (Holiday House, 1991)
Drawings and text show a typical day for a cowboy from sun up to sun down.

Cowboys on the Western Trail: The Cattle Drive Adventures of Josh McNabb and Davy Bartlett by Eric Oatman. (National Geographic, 2004)
A series of letters and journal entries tell the story of two young men on an 800-mile cattle drive in 1877. Archival photographs and drawings add authenticity to the fictionalized story.

Get Along, Little Dogies: The Chisholm Trail Diary of Hallie Lou Wells by Lisa Waller Rogers. (Texas Tech University Press, 2001)
Hallie helps drive the cattle to Dodge City—an unusual adventure for a girl in 1878.

The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy by Jon Scieszka. (Puffin, 2002)
The Trio has landed in the Old West, which turns out to be a lot less glamorous than it looks on TV!

The Journal of Joshua Loper: A Black Cowboy by Walter Dean Myers. (Scholastic, 1999)
My Name is America series. In 1871, 15-year-old Josh realizes his dream of working on a cattle drive from Texas to Kansas.

Return of the Buffaloes: A Plains Indian Story about Famine and Renewal of the Earth by Paul Goble. (Orchard, 1996)
In this retelling of a Lakota myth, a mysterious woman breaks a famine by summoning a herd of buffalo from a cave in the Black Hills.

Nonfiction

Bill Pickett, Rodeo-ridin' Cowboy by Andrea Davis Pinkney. (Gulliver, 1999)
A biography of the child of freed slaves who grew up to be a famous black rodeo performer.

Black Cowboy, Wild Horses: A True Story by Julius Lester. (Dial, 1998)
Follow Bob Lemmons, a former slave, and his horse Warrior as they "run" wild mustangs.

Born to be a Cowgirl: A Spirited Ride through the Old West by Candace Savage. (Tricycle Press, 2002)
From Fannie Sperry to modern-day rodeo riders, this action-packed book tells the story of America's cowgirls.

Boss of the Plains: The Hat That Won the West by Laurie Carlson. (DK, 1998)
While others struck gold or blazed trails through unknown territory, John Batterson Stetson created the most popular hat west of the Mississippi.

A Braid of Lives: Native American Childhood by Neil Philips. (Clarion, 2000)
Excerpts from memoirs and biographies, plus archival photographs, cover one hundred years as Native Americans describe their childhoods. A companion volume to In a Sacred Manner I Live.

The Cheyennes by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve. (Holiday House, 1996)
The First Americans series. Describes the traditional social structure, daily life, spiritual beliefs, and tragic interactions with white soldiers, as well as today's Cheyenne people.

In the Days of the Vaqueros: America's First True Cowboys by Russell Freedman. (Clarion, 2001)
Explores the haciendas and ranchos where the art of herding cattle originated.

The Life and Death of Crazy Horse by Russell Freedman. (Holiday House, 1996)
Authentic sketches provide the basis for this biography of the greatest of the Teton Sioux warriors.

The Opening of the West by Rebecca Stefoff. (Benchmark, 2003)
Short introductions to primary documents chronicle the frontier experience, from explorer Zebulon Pike to Mary Olivette Taylor, the first woman known to have helped in a Texas cattle drive.

The West: An Illustrated History for Children by Dayton Duncan. (Little, Brown, 1996)
An informative guide to a dramatic part in our nation's history, based on the PBS documentary series The West.
More books in the series:

The Gold Rush by Liza Ketchum,

People of the West by Dayton Duncan.



Web Sites

America's First Cowboys
http://www.unm.edu/~gabbriel/
A well researched, accurate, historical account of the origins of our first American Cowboy.

Diamond R Ranch
http://www.nationalcowboymuseum.org/diamondr/
This children's site from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum includes tours through the museum's galleries, songs, games, and more.

New Perspectives on the West
http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/
Based on the Ken Burns documentary, this site contains sections about the people, places, and events that formed the American West, as well as lesson plans.

Pioneers and the West
http://infozone.imcpl.org/kids_path_pioneers.htm
A collaboration between the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library and InfoZone, this site offers Web links, suggested books and videos, as well as related topics. (Particularly good for kids.)

Ron Tarver: African-American Cowboys
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/tarver/
Visit this photo gallery of African-American cowboys by National Geographics former senior editor of photography, Ron Tarver.