A collection of fascinating tales of women's trials and triumphs during the years of settlement in the West.
Miller has divided the book into broad topics that gather stories of women's roles in settlement of the American West. “Many a Weary Mile" describes the trip west by wagon; "Oh Give Me a Home" explores early pioneering experiences. "A Woman Can Work," "And Now the Fun Begins" and "Great Expectations for the Future" all examine the careers of women who stepped out of typical female roles of the era. "A Clash of Cultures" tells of the experiences of two young white females captured by Native Americans and two Native American women's experiences dealing with white culture. The stories strike a nice balance, profiling many different types of experiences. Each chapter begins with a broad overview of the topic and then narrows down with compelling tales of individuals. Inclusion of first-person narrative through the use of letters and diaries brings the women to life in their own voices, augmented by revealing black-and-white period photographs with very brief captions. Part of this enlightening effort is a reworking of the 1995 Buffalo Gals of the Old West, which was aimed at a somewhat younger audience. While presented as an offering for teens, this work would be equally appropriate for adults.
A thoughtful and attractive presentation of a complex and intriguing topic. (extensive bibliography and endnotes) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)