Writing Kit Carson: Fallen Heroes in a Changing West

Univ. of North Carolina. Dec. 2020. 520p. ISBN 9781469658834. $29.95. BIOG
Johnson (history, Univ. Univ. of Nevada Las Vegas) presents a biographical study of two women, who as amateur historians during the 1960s, wrote about American frontiersman Kit Carson (1809–68). Quantrille McClung was a librarian in Denver, who compiled genealogy records of Carson’s family. Bernice Blackwelder held various jobs, including being a singer and a former CIA employee. These women’s writings about Carson brought them together; they exchanged letters, swapped research tidbits, and shared details of their personal lives, as well as their views on the social and economic changes impacting the Unites States and the growing field of Western American History, which was dominated by men. Using their correspondence, diaries, and scrapbooks, Johnson examines the nation’s history through the interwoven lives of McClung and Blackwelder as well as her own research on Carson, study of queer historiography, and immersion in the field of Western history.
VERDICT For readers who wish to know more about how history is written, its influencers, their writings, and how figures such as Carson fall from grace. An excellent addition for women’s studies collections.
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