The Federal Landscape
An Economic History of the Twentieth-Century West
Historian Gerald D. Nash has written the first account of the epic growth of the economy of the American West during the twentieth century, showing how national interests shaped the West over the course of the past hundred years. In a book written for a broad readership, he tells the story of how America’s hinterland became the most dynamic and rapidly growing part of the country.
The Federal Landscape relates how in the nineteenth century the West was largely developed by individual enterprise but how in the twentieth Washington, D.C., became the central player in shaping the region. Nash traces the development of this process during the Progressive Era, World War I, the New Deal, World War II, the affluent postwar years, and the cold-war economy of the 1950s. He analyzes the growth of western cities and the emergence of environmental issues in the 1960s, the growth of a vibrant Mexican-U.S. border economy, and the impact of large-scale immigration from Latin America and Asia at century’s end.
Although specialists have studied many particular facets of western growth, Nash has written the only book to provide a much-needed overview of the subject. By addressing subjects as diverse as public policy, economic development, environmental and urban issues, and questions of race, class, and gender, he puts the entire federal landscape in perspective and shows how the West was really won.
"He has laid bare a glaring but not entirely comprehended reality—that without federal intervention, the American West would be an entirely different place today. . . . It is essential reading for an understanding of the American West in the twentieth century." —History: Review of New Books
"In a very concise, tightly written, and thoroughly researched book, Nash has demonstrated how interesting and meaningful history can be and should be written." —Journal of the West