SOCIAL SCIENCES

The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America

Metropolitan: Holt. Mar. 2019. 384p. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9781250179821. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781250179814. HIST
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Throughout American history the frontier has been as much a place as an idea. In a broad and sweeping history stretching from the founding of the nation through the election of Donald Trump, Bancroft Prize winner Grandin (history, New York Univ.; The Empire of Necessity) examines what he calls the "expansionist imperative" of the frontier and what happens when that expansion comes to a halt. The extending boundaries of the United States provided a sense of freedom as land opened for settlement and acted as a safety valve against the increasingly populated and industrialized east. Grandin shows how the frontier deflected outwardly economic and political conflicts at the often violent expense of Native Americans and those who occupied lands that came under new control. After the closure of the frontier, Grandin demonstrates how the term took on an ideological meaning related to social and scientific progress and describes how President Trump's call to build a wall signaled the end of the frontier with its promise of growth and prosperity.
VERDICT Grandin's own ideas are in plain view; however, that should not distance readers interested in American history and the frontier from this insightful book.

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