In this groundbreaking work, William Cronon gives us an environmental perspective on the history of nineteenth-century America. By exploring the ecological and economic changes that made Chicago America's most dynamic city and the Great West its hinterland, Mr. Cronon opens a new window onto our national past. This is the story of city and country becoming ever more tightly bound in a system so powerful that it reshaped the American landscape and transformed American culture. The world that emerged is our own.
"No one has ever written a better book about a city [...] No one has written about Chicago with more power, clarity and intelligence than Cronon."
– Kenneth T. Jackson, Boston Globe
"This book is the story of Chicago's progress in the 19th century, the rough seduction of the hinterland, and how at its zenith the city ruled the commercial life of a vast inland region more completely and ruthlessly and profitably than any czar ruled Russia [...] A marvelous book."
– Ward Just, Chicago Tribune
"An intoxicating piece of scholarship and enterprise [...] It is really a work of biography: a look at the life of Chicago."
– David Shribman, Wall Street Journal
"Thoroughly original [...] Likely to become a small classic [...] Illuminating [...] Brilliant."
– Donald L. Miller, New York Times Book Review