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The Frontier Army in the Settlement of the West Hardcover – November 15, 1999
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Tate, an established historian of the West, provides a valuable overview of the army's role in U.S. expansion beyond the Mississippi, a role that included much more than protecting whites from Indians. The army surveyed and explored, directly and as part of other expeditions, and provided extensive logistic support to westward movement before as well as after the Civil War. It was crucial in developing the national infrastructure of roads, railroads, river navigation, water supplies, and everything else on which civilization depends. Finally, officers and enlisted men alike frequently were also settlers, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs, both during and after their military service. Sometimes entrepreneurship was not disinterested; General Custer had investments in the mining companies that were trying to open the Lakotah territories in the Black Hills to settlement. The volume's frame of reference suggests that Tate intends it for a scholarly audience, but its admirable synthesis of existing research makes it vital to any serious student of the history of the American West. Roland Green
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