Our understanding of the American West has moved far beyond pop culture in recent years. The legendary people and events we associate with the Wild West - the last stand at the Alamo, the Battle of Little Bighorn, the exploits of Calamity Jane, the hardships of the Oregon Trail - are even more fascinating once the historical realities have been separated from the myths.
Designed to shine a light on the American frontier, these 24 lectures are a way for you to experience the grit and grandeur of an epic period in American history. Professor Allitt uncovers new historical angles and perspectives about events and themes ranging from the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Indian Removal Act to the creation America's first national parks.
You'll cover more than 200 years of history and the most important events, themes, and ideas that form the backbone of the frontier's reality - and legend. Among these: the Transcontinental Railroad, the idea of Manifest Destiny, the Gold Rush, the Trail of Tears, and (yes) cowboys. You'll also learn how popular culture - novels like Little House on the Prairie, paintings by artists like Frederic Remington, and decades of Western films - can actually clue us in to the intimate details of life for everyday men and women.
Saddle up for an exciting adventure in learning.
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Great Professor, Great Course
I bought this course because I had listened to and enjoyed others by Professor Allitt. I'm glad I did, for once again he has delivered an engaging and informative series of lectures. Professor Allitt offers listeners a broad historical perspective on the opening of the American West, clearly explaining the context and significance of each topic he covers. What I liked most, though, were the details, anecdotes and stories he used to evoke the flavour of this period. It's important to learn, for example, how the gold rush contributed to the evolution of California as a state, but hearing the specifics of how the gold was mined, of the dangerous technology and toxins that were used, helped me visualize the harsh lives of the miners.