Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Nine essential books about the American frontier

Peter Stark is an adventure and exploration writer and historian. Born in Wisconsin, he studied English and anthropology at Dartmouth College, took a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, and headed off to the remote spots of the world writing magazine articles and books.

His book Astoria was a New York Times bestseller, a finalist for a PEN USA literary award, and was adapted into an epic, two-part play by Portland Center Stage in Portland, Oregon. His Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged the Founding Father was a finalist for the 2019 George Washington Book Prize.

Stark's newest book is Gallop Toward the Sun: Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison's Struggle for the Destiny of a Nation.

At Lit Hub he tagged nine top books about the American frontier, including:
Willa Cather, My Ántonia

After Native tribes in the Midwest had been mostly vanquished, vast lands opened to farming. One of Willa Cather’s most acclaimed novels, My Ántonia (1918), portrays the life of white settlers—”pioneers,” as known in American frontier mythology—on the Nebraska plains. Ántonia’s family of Bohemian immigrants arrives in the late 1800s to find that the homestead they purchased offers no home in the usual sense but rather the common pioneer shelter known as a “dugout” or “sod house”—built of blocks of prairie sod or simply an earthen cellar roofed over.
Read about another entry on the list.

My Ántonia is among Sunjeev Sahota's top ten books about migrants and Chris Hannan's top ten tales of the American frontier.

--Marshal Zeringue