The West of the Imagination

William N. Goetzmann, With W. W. Norton & Company $34.95 (458p) ISBN 978-0-393-02370-1
The explorer-artists who documented the American West were obsessed and determined. George Catlin lived on borrowed money and sales of ""souvenir albums'' while fulfilling his dream of recording vanishing Native American cultures. ``Blond giant'' Frederic Remington, a failed Kansas sheepherder, became the primary mythmaker of the Old West, portraying its trappers, punchers and vaqueros and elevating the cowboy to an epic hero. Swiss view-painter Karl Bodmer, in search of a ``savage America,'' risked his life to paint bloody Indian battles and explore Mississippi steamboat culture. With 370 plates, nearly half in color, this companion volume to an upcoming PBS-TV series glorifies the legends of the Wild West even as it dissects them. Artists of European descent who recorded Hispanic settlements in the Southwest are highlighted. The authorsWilliam H. Goetzmann is a Pulitzer Prizewinning historian; William N. Goetzmann is a museum curatoralso trace the role of filmmakers in shaping the popular image of the frontier. (October 13)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1986
Release date: 10/01/1986
Paperback - 978-0-393-30565-4
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