The Greater Plains: Rethinking a Region's Environmental Histories (Paperback)

The Greater Plains: Rethinking a Region's Environmental Histories By Brian Frehner (Editor), Kathleen A. Brosnan (Editor) Cover Image

The Greater Plains: Rethinking a Region's Environmental Histories (Paperback)

By Brian Frehner (Editor), Kathleen A. Brosnan (Editor)


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The Greater Plains tells a new story of a region, stretching from the state of Texas to the province of Alberta, where the environments are as varied as the myriad ways people have inhabited them. These innovative essays document a complicated history of human interactions with a sometimes plentiful and sometimes foreboding landscape, from the Native Americans who first shaped the prairies with fire to twentieth-century oil regimes whose pipelines linked the region to the world.

The Greater Plains moves beyond the narrative of ecological desperation that too often defines the region in scholarly works and in popular imagination. Using the lenses of grasses, animals, water, and energy, the contributors reveal tales of human adaptation through technologies ranging from the travois to bookkeeping systems and hybrid wheat. Transnational in its focus and interdisciplinary in its scholarship, The Greater Plains brings together leading historians, geographers, anthropologists, and archaeologists to chronicle a past rich with paradoxical successes and failures, conflicts and cooperation, but also continual adaptation to the challenging and ever-shifting environmental conditions of the North American heartland.

Brian Frehner is an associate professor of history at University of Missouri–Kansas City. He is the author of Finding Oil: The Nature of Petroleum Geology, 1859–1920 (Nebraska, 2011), winner of the Hal K. Rothman Prize, and coeditor of Indians and Energy: Exploitation and Opportunity in the American Southwest. Kathleen A. Brosnan is Paul and Doris Easton Travis Chair of History at the University of Oklahoma. She is the author or coeditor of a number of books, including City of Lake and Prairie: Chicago’s Environmental History and Mapping Nature across the Americas.

Product Details ISBN: 9781496226471
ISBN-10: 149622647X
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publication Date: July 1st, 2021
Pages: 406
Language: English
"The Greater Plains achieves the difficult task of weaving together research spanning eight hundred years of history into a coherent whole. The result is a bold interdisciplinary collection of research that will be valuable to scholars of history, archeology, Native American studies, ecology, and geography."—Jacob Schmidt, South Dakota History

"The Greater Plains provides a needed reinterpretation of environmental issues on the Great Plains by placing emphasis on the daily process of change rather than on major events."—Blake Johnson, Montana: The Magazine of Western History

“This compendium offers readers cutting-edge research about the Great Plains in a transnational context. Through various categories of analysis, each essay makes substantial contributions to the sociocultural, environmental, agricultural, political, and technological histories of the region.”—David D. Vail, author of Chemical Lands: Pesticides, Aerial Spraying, and Health in North America’s Grasslands since 1945

“The pieces are organized in such a manner as to provide multiple new insights and collectively reframe plains history as a set of interconnected and seamless stories that reveal human relationships to be the mainstays of the plains environment. This anthology will be a very useful contribution to environmental and Great Plains history.”—Leisl Carr Childers, author of The Size of the Risk: Histories of Multiple Use in the Great Basin