The Rural West Since World War II
Edited by R. Douglas Hurt
The history of the rural West in modern times is in many ways the history of America. Family farms have vanished and the rise of cities and suburbs have made the West disproportionately urban since World War II. But even though the West may seem less rural today than it was a century ago, agriculture, rural life, and agrarian politics remain inextricably linked to the economy and culture of the entire region.
In this new collection of original essays, a team of outstanding scholars—Donald J. Pisani, Paula M. Nelson, David Rich Lewis, and others—survey the changes in farms, small towns, and reservations throughout the West during the post-War era. They offer a fresh look at the major aspects of the rural West's history since 1945, showing how the advent of agribusiness has changed the character of rural life and exploring the ways in which the West nevertheless remains uniquely rural.
“Provocative. The articles are individually excellent, and collectively insightful.”
“This book would be a good place to start for anyone interested in agriculture in the post-World War II era.”
—Annals of IowaSee all reviews...
“Readers will find this volume informative and worthwhile.”
—Journal of the West
“This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of agriculture or the development of the post-frontier West.”
—Annals of Wyoming
“The ten authors and Hurt, who has been a driving force in the advancement of rural studies, deserve credit for achieving their central goal: breaking ground in neglected soil and raising a diverse crop of knowledge where little grew before.”
—Montana The Magazine of Western History
“Hurt’s volume is an impressive collection of introductory essays whose authors have skillfully organized and lucidly articulated the interrelationships among most of the dynamic elements of this rapidly evolving region.”
“The best brief introduction to a complex subject. . . . of interest to anyone concerned with present-day issues from agribusiness to water, from gender to Native Americans, and from environmentalism to technology. This book belongs on every western historian’s shelf.”
—Martin Ridge, coauthor of Writing the History of the American West
“Provides a great deal of useful and interesting information about a subject that must be understood if one is to understand modern America.”
—Allan G. Bogue, author of From Prairie to Corn Belt
“Examines a range of topics as wide as the region itself. A significant contribution.”
—Hal S. Barron, author of Mixed Harvest: The Second Great Transformation in the Rural North, 1870–1930
“A fresh and impressive collection.”
—David Danbom, author of Born in the Country: A History of Rural AmericaSee fewer reviews...
Some of the essays treat subjects long important to studies of the West, such as the cattle industry, agriculture, migrant labor, water policy, and environmental concerns. Others consider topics of increasing interest: social change, ranch and farm women, and reservation life. Together, they show how rural Westerners continue to make their voices heard in the national debate over major issues, from civil rights and welfare to environmental protection and corporate regulation.
The Rural West Since World War II greatly enlarges our understanding of this immense region, as well as its ties to and impact on the nation's political history. The volume will be required reading for anyone interested in rural, agricultural, and Western history, as it clearly shows this familiar region to be more than wide open spaces.