"The Winning of the West remains one of the greatest works of western history. . . . [It] reflects the character of its author. It is sometimes quirky and full of prejudices and blind spots, but it is cultivated and sweeping in its learning and encompassing in its judgments." -John Milton Cooper Jr. After political defeats and the loss of half his capital in a ranching venture in North Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt began writing his ambitious history of the conquest of the American West in 1888. He projected a sweeping drama, well documented and filled with Americans fighting Indian confederacies north and south while dealing with the machinations of the British, French, and Spanish and their sympathizers. Roosevelt wanted to show how backwoodsmen such as Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton, followed by hardy pioneer settlers, gave the United States eventual claim to land west of the Alleghanies. Heroism and treachery among both the whites and the Indians can be seen in his rapidly shifting story of a people on the move. By force and by treaty the new nation was established in the East, and when the explorers and settlers pushed against the Mississippi, everything west of the river was considered part of that nation. This volume describes the first settlers from Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina moving out to the land between the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. It proved to be a dark and bloody ground bordered by Indian tribes. Boone and the Long Hunters cut their way through the forests into Kentucky, John Sevier campaigned against the Cherokees, families huddled in wilderness forts. The introduction is by John Milton Cooper Jr., a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin,Madison, and the author of The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt.
The introducer is Michael N. McConnell, a professor of history at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and the author of The Country Between: The Upper Ohio Valley and Its Peoples, 1724-1774 (Nebraska 1992).