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The Great Frontier Hardcover – December, 1964
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"[Walter Prescott Webb] writes interestingly about large problems, the solution of which should help mankind to understand its past and assist in formulating more socially desirable public and private policies. He is blessed with both a bold mind and a brilliant pen, two assets that have raised him to a position of respect among members of the profession to which he belongs. In [The Great Frontier] Mr. Webb attempts to interpret the history of Western culture from 1500 to the present in terms of the expansion of Europe overseas. Although this theme is not new... it has never before been treated in such a grand manner and with the same points of emphasis as in the present volume." - New York Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Walter Prescott Webb (1888-1963) wrote or edited more than twenty books including "The Great Plains," "Divided We Stand," and "The Texas Rangers." He taught at the University of Texas, the University of London, and at Oxford University. Although Webb's work sparked controversy and sharp criticism, it inspired new thinking about the role of regionalism in the nation's history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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"The Great Frontier" is not the American West, with cowboys and Indians and all of that. Webb's Great Frontier is all of America, along with other great lands that were discovered around the same time as America. These lands were full of untapped riches in the form of undeveloped farmland, forests and other natural resources. The discovery and settlement of this Great Frontier lifted Europe out of static poverty and led to 400 years of worldwide economic boom.
But the boom is over. The lands are all discovered, and settled, and mostly exploited. The natural resources are no longer easily obtained like in the early stages of the boom age.
Professor Webb saw the future by understanding the boom pattern of the past. This book explains his boom hypothesis in a very readable way. It only touches on the future consequences, but when you understand where the world was prior to the boom, and you understand the simple but profound effects of the boom, it's pretty easy to see the future ramifications.
"The Great Frontier" is a historical slap up side the head of all those people who think prosperity like we knew in the past will continue forever. It can't possibly happen. It is totally unsustainable from a natural resources point of view. Webb saw and taught all this 60+ years ago. I don't think you will find a more insightful, useful, and readable history book than this one.
By the way, Webb was a down-to-earth native Texan and a respected professor in his day. It amazes me that more people are not familiar with his writings. The man was brilliant.