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F596 .L84 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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F596 .L84 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
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F596 .L84 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
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F596 .L84 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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F596 .L84 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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F596 .L84 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

With over one hundred photographs, Cathy Luchetti tells the story of growing up in an awe-inspiring yet harsh landscape.

In search of land and a new life, couples created farms and ranches in the rugged frontier. The children of the West took after their rugged and individualistic parents--they grew up learning determination with their prayers. While families worried about wild animals and Indian raids, their greatest difficulty might be just growing enough food to eat and staying sheltered. Yet, there was fun to be had, from tumbling down haystacks to grasshopper races, or a tea party with corncob dolls. Large families bustled with chores and chastisement, and there was endless opportunity for mischief among siblings.

The West attracted people from all over America and from all over the world. Luchetti looks at the lives of the black Exodusters, the native Spanish who created wealthy rancheros, and the Chinese and Japanese who sought greater economic opportunities than they could find in their homeland. And many new settlers encountered the Indians, whose lives were disrupted by the mandate of Manifest Destiny. Brought into lively, and often painful, proximity, their stories were made even more poignant through the lives of their children.

Children of the West reveals the bygone lives of the families who populated the pioneer West, as described in their own words in letters, diaries, and journals. We come close to them through their worries and joys. The photographs draw us even closer, as we see the face of family life in the changing West.


Author Notes

Cathy Luchetti has written many award-winning books, including "Women of the West", "Home on the Range" (winner of the James Beard Award), & "Medicine Women".

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the children who resided in the sparsely populated plains and prairies of the western U.S. were subject to a unique variety of hardships and joys. The typical frontier childhood was fraught with adventure, tedium, hardship, danger, independence, and responsibility. Utilizing more than 100 vintage photographs and excerpts from letters, diaries, and journals, Luchetti examines aspects of childbearing, child rearing, childhood, and adolescence on the American frontier. Specific topics addressed include the westward journey, birth and baby care, family bonds, children at work and at play, discipline, schooling, religion, sickness, and death. One particularly fascinating section is devoted to analyzing the often-overlooked offspring of Native Americans, black and Hispanic homesteaders, and Asian immigrants. A historically and culturally significant tribute to the tenacity of pioneer children. --Margaret Flanagan


Publisher's Weekly Review

"`I remember walking just ahead of that halted wagon.... I recall so vividly the feeling of wonderment and perplexity at the bigness of the world,'" says a woman of her frontier childhood. In Children of the West: Frontier Family Life, Cathy Luchetti's astute, readable text shares space with 19th- and early 20th-century photographs. Later chapters cover Native Americans, African-Americans, Asians and Mexicans. Luchetti (Women of the West) aptly details common and particular experiences of pioneer wives and children. " `My soul rebelled against having more children.... But my husband... persisted in his right to his sensual indulgences,' " laments one woman. "O! When I look back at those bright loving days... with Father, Mother, brothers and sisters gathered in groups round about, how glad I am to have been one of them," says a woman raised in Ohio. ( May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Luchetti (Home on the Range: A Culinary History of the American West) has written several titles about the American West and the pioneer experience. Her books are anecdotal, amply illustrated surveys or panoramas of human experience that make extensive use of photographs and quotes from participants. Her new exploration of children's life in the American West continues in that vein while filling a gap in an uneven literature. Using anecdotes drawn from diaries and similar materials about such varied people and places as an 1840s father in the forests of Oregon, an 1860s railroad man in California, and 1880s farmers in Montana, she generalizes about Western family life, but this often results in her casting too broad of a net. The range of subjects that she covers, however, is so fascinating that that misstep can be forgiven. Her discussions of everything from birth control to orphans and childhood discipline could lead the interested reader to more in-depth studies. Overall, this book is highly recommended, particularly for public libraries. Charlie Cowling, Drake Memorial Lib., SUNY at Brockport Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Luchetti has written books on women, culinary history, evangelists, courtship, love and marriage--even a work on the natural cures for menopause, each focusing on the western US. This latest work adds children of the West to the author's repertoire. History professors are usually eager for students to have access to primary sources, including photographs and first person stories. However, this coffee-table book, much of it gleaned from popular journals of the 19th century, is not a scholarly work. It is difficult to track references to the sources. Economic motivations and the sexual ignorance of parents are often neglected in the celebration of parenthood. The historical record documents the economic role of having children as pioneers searched for security, success, and survival. Like land, children were assets, even though they were also often financial liabilities. The stories, presented with little insight and no conclusions, contribute little to social history, though many readers will enjoy them, and scholars who know this history well may find the book useful. Those researching popular history may also benefit. However, it is too shallow and lacking in critical insight to recommended for undergraduate or graduate students. N. J. Hervey Luther College