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Choices and Chances: A History of Women in the U.S. West

Choices and Chances: A History of Women in the U.S. West

Sheila McManus

ISBN: 978-0-882-95277-2 January 2011 Wiley-Blackwell 336 Pages


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Does the history of the U.S. West look any different when men are not consistently the principal actors, decision makers, and heroes? As this engaging first volume in our new Western History Series illustrates, the familiar scene changes dramatically.

By putting women at the center of the story, from before first contact to the end of World War II, and looking at the historical narrative from women’s points of view, this unique new book gracefully shows that women of all races, ethnicities, classes, and religions—workers and explorers, mothers and adventurers, miners and ranchers, activists and environmentalists, housewives and community organizers—were active participants in every facet of the history of the West. Indeed, the choices women made and the actions they took helped shape the way that history was made.

With clearly defined themes woven throughout an engaging narrative-driven text—as well as maps and three banks of stunning photographs, Choices and Chances, this innovative and important new work is certain to give college-level students and readers of all levels alike a new appreciation of and perspectives in western history, making it ideal supplementary reading for courses in the history of the U.S. West as well as survey courses in United States and Women’s history.

“Sheila McManus… synthesizes the best current research to provide an inclusive survey of the opportunities and obstacles faced by western women. ..She impressively culls the literature to produce a survey demonstrating the many ways in which women have been actors in western history.”  (Western Historical Quarterly, Summer 2012)

"Sheila McManus synthesizes and makes readily accessible research that reveals that women were in the West, that they were diverse, that they were central to historical activities, and, in general, that they were far from passive...It is refreshing to be able to choose a book with a women-centered approach instead of settling for 'add women and stir.'" (Teaching History, 2011)