If You Go
Date: February 4, 2006
Where: Montrachet Room, Marriott Hotel

Re-release of Patricia Limerick's Landmark Book, Legacy of Conquest

To celebrate the re-release of her landmark 1987 book, The Legacy of Conquest, University of Colorado at Boulder Professor Patricia Nelson Limerick joined with Stanford University historian Richard White in a special public conversation on Feb. 4.

The two well-known and influential historians of the American West spoke in the Marriott Hotel’s Montrachet Room, 2660 Canyon Blvd., in Boulder.

At the time of its release in 1987, The Legacy of Conquest generated intense debate among historians and cultural commentators across the nation. Limerick received both praise and criticism for debunking some long-held myths about the West and for focusing attention on women, minorities, and the environment. Today, her views are widely accepted.

“The almost entirely positive feeling for the book in these times is indeed quite a contrast to the tone of the discussion 18 or 19 years ago,” Limerick said.

The re-released edition of Legacy, published by W. W. Norton, includes a new foreword by Limerick but otherwise remains unchanged. It has been one of the best-selling books on Western American history and continues to generate lots of letters and comments from readers.

Limerick is a Professor of History and Environmental Studies at CU-Boulder and Faculty Director of the Center of the American West. She also is the author of Something in the Soil and Desert Passages and has served as president of the Western History Association and the American Studies Association.

Both Limerick and White are winners of MacArthur Fellowships, also known as the “genius grant.” Along with James Grossman, they co-authored The Frontier in American Culture, published in 1994.

White is the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University and the author of influential books on the American West, including It’s Your Misfortune and None of My Own: A New History of the American West and The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815, which won the Francis Parkman Prize for best book on American history in 1992.

“The core of our conversation will be how we interpret Western history and how we deal with the very strong emotions that people have invested in the idea of the West,” Limerick said. “We will talk about the changes in thinking about the West in the last 20 years, and I am pretty sure we will laugh a lot. Richard White is witty and not at all shy about letting that wit loose to make fun of me.”

White’s appearance is part of a series of events celebrating the Center of the American West’s 20th anniversary this year. The Febuary 4 event was sponsored by the Center and the CU-Boulder history department.