This book, one of a series of 18 Histories of the American Frontier to be edited by Mr. Bilkington, is a leisurely piece of scholarship that makes the best possible use of familiar sources and theories. Its purpose is to reinstate Frederick Jackson Turner's 70-year-old thesis (nowadays treated either as a hackneyed classroom saw or an aspiring critic's shipping boy) that the distinctive characteristics of Americans were formed by the pioneering experience. These are--wastefulness, chauvinism, mobility, industry, inventiveness, particular deference to women. These have undeniably persisted beyond such sweeping changes in our national condition as urbanization, mechanization, and growth as a world power. They certainly do set us apart, in a general way, from Europeans. Turner's theory, therefore, is still feasible and deserving of examination. Perhaps the rest of the projected series will undertake the task in a less general manner, with fresher material.