Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America

Finalist, National Book Awards 1993 for Nonfiction

Gunfighter Nation- The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America by Richard slotkin book cover
ISBN 9780689121630
University of Oklahoma Press | Atheneum
Richard Slotkin is a professor of English and American studies at Wesleyan University. His other books include Lost Battalions, The Crater and Gunfighter Nation.
Richard Slotkin

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Gunfighter Nation completes Richard Slotkin’s trilogy, begun in Regeneration Through Violence and continued in Fatal Environment, on the myth of the American frontier. Slotkin examines an impressive array of sources – fiction, Hollywood westerns, and the writings of Hollywood figures and Washington leaders – to show how the racialist theory of Anglo-Saxon ascendance and superiority (embodied in Theodore Roosevelt’s The Winning of the West), rather than Frederick Jackson Turner’s thesis of the closing of the frontier, exerted the most influence in popular culture and government policy making in the twentieth century. He argues that Roosevelt’s view of the frontier myth provided the justification for most of America’s expansionist policies, from Roosevelt’s own Rough Riders to Kennedy’s counterinsurgency and Johnson’s war in Vietnam.

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