First published in 1968, The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience has become a classic in the field of American studies.
G. Edward White traces the origins of “the West of the imagination” to the adolescent experiences of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister—three Easterners from upper-class backgrounds who went West in the 1880s in search of an alternative way of life.
Each of the three men came to identify with a somewhat idealized “Wild West” that embodied the virtues of individualism, self-reliance, and rugged masculinity. When they returned East, they popularized this image of the West through art, literature, politics, and even their public personae. Moreover, these Western virtues soon became and have remained American virtues—a patriotic ideal that links Easterners with Westerners.
With a multidisciplinary blend of history, biography, sociology, psychology, and literary criticism, The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience will appeal to a wide audience. The author has written a new preface, offering additional perspectives on the mythology of the West and its effect on the American character.
"If we look for an explanation of the American character that has given us such a reverence for shooting, hunting, and the masculine ‘strong men’ of our ‘wild west,’ this is the book to consult."/p>
—American Historical Review