In his introduction to this handsome volume the editor, an authority on western history, states that the purpose of the book is to ""tell facts -- not literary imaginings -- about the Old West"" as it really was, not as envisioned by readers of ""Westerns"". In territory the book covers that part of the U.S. lying between the Mexican and Canadian borders and west of the eastern boundaries of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas; it begins with the coming of the white man in the 6th century and ends in 1912. The book is in ten parts, each written by a different author, the titles of the sections ranging from The Opening of the West (Dale Morgan)--Indians, horses, fur-traders, explorers -- to A Gallery of Western Art by Clarence P. ornung, Art Director of the project. Not all of the sections are equally well presented; among the best of them are those on mines and mining, Treasures of the American West (Oscar Lewis); Law (Wayne Gard) -- outlaws, bandits, sheriffs, marshals; and Wild Life, by Natt N. Dodge. The subject is of course too vast to be covered by any one book; even so, some of the omissions are surprising. The great military and fur- posts that bound the West together; Kearney, Laramie, Union and Bent's Fort, are never described; there is nothing about the building and operation of the telegraph line; in many instances sources are not named, even when direct quotations are used. Copiously illustrated, with many color reproductions, this costly book will make an excellent gift for ""young adults"" who know little of Western history; its of adequate documentation detracts from its value as a reference volume. Those purchasing copies before Christmas will receive ""free of charge"" six of Frederic Remington's Western prints.