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The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the…
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The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of… (1985)

by Richard Slotkin

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1251148,455 (4.38)2
In The Fatal Environment, Richard Slotkin demonstrates how the myth of frontier expansion and subjugation of the Indians helped to justify the course of America?s rise to wealth and power. Using Custer?s Last Stand as a metaphor for what Americans feared might happen if the frontier should be closed and the "savage" element be permitted to dominate the "civilized," Slotkin shows the emergence by 1890 of a myth redefined to help Americans respond to the confusion and strife of industrialization and imperial expansion.… (more)

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Mr. Slotkin emphasizes the figure of George Armstrong Custer in his second volume on the idea of "The Frontier" in American literary and political life. He once more exposes some of the seamier uses to which the impulse to take possession of the American Continent has been put. He carefully traces the influence which Richard Gordon Bennet, and Jay Cooke had on the impressionable soldier, and his behaviour. I didn't know that Custer often was the presenter of some of his more famous exploits to the press. George Custer was a writing soldier, and in this field could have had some influence on another writing soldier, Winston Churchill. Well, the myth of Custer versus Sitting Bull is certainly carefully examined in these 600 pages. George doesn't look unaware of his own image, or unaware of the financial uses to which his career could be put.
Many Americans probably wouldn't like the political maneuvers that Custer was involved in. Or the financial ones.
Another thread in this book is the literary positioning of the Indian, moving them from the "Noble Savage" of Fenimore Cooper to the "Comanche" of Mark Twain, during this period. A dense and intelligent view of a serious part of the American mythic structure. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jun 2, 2014 |
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On July 4, 1876, the American republic celebrated one hundred years of national independence.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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