American West

American West


Interviews with scholars of the American West about their new books.

Julia G. Young, "Mexican Exodus: Emigrants, Exiles, and Refugees of the Cristero War" (Oxford UP, 2019)

May 6, 2024

Mexican Exodus

Julia G. Young
Hosted by Ethan Fredrick

In Mexican Exodus: Emigrants, Exiles, and Refugees of the Cristero War (Oxford University Press, 2019), Julia G. Young reframes the Cristero War as a …

Sydney Stern, "The Brothers Mankiewicz: Hope, Heartbreak, and Hollywood Classics" (UP of Mississippi, 2019)

May 5, 2024

The Brothers Mankiewicz

Sydney Stern
Hosted by Joel Tscherne

Herman J. (1897–1953) and Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1909–1993) wrote, produced, and directed over 150 pictures. With Orson Welles, Herman wrote the screen…

Katie Gee Salisbury, "Not Your China Doll: The Wild and Shimmering Life of Anna May Wong" (Dutton, 2024)

May 2, 2024

Not Your China Doll

Katie Gee Salisbury
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In 2022, the U.S. Mint released the first batch of its American Women Quarters series, celebrating the achievements of U.S. women throughout its histo…

Andrés Reséndez, "Conquering the Pacific: An Unknown Mariner and the Final Great Voyage of the Age of Discovery" (Mariner Books, 2022)

April 27, 2024

Conquering the Pacific

Andrés Reséndez
Hosted by Stephen Hausmann

The Pacific Ocean is twice the size of the Atlantic, and while humans have been traversing its current-driven maritime highways for thousands of years…

Steven C. Beda, "Strong Winds and Widow Makers: Workers, Nature, and Environmental Conflict in Pacific Northwest Timber Country" (U Illinois Press, 2022)

April 26, 2024

Strong Winds and Widow Makers

Steven C. Beda
Hosted by Stephen Hausmann

Imagine an environmentalist. Are you picturing a Birkenstock-clad hippie? An office worker who hikes on weekends? A political lobbyist? What about a m…

Héctor Beltrán, "Code Work: Hacking Across the US/México Techno-Borderlands" (Princeton UP, 2023)

April 21, 2024

Code Work

Héctor Beltrán
Hosted by Liliana Gil

In Code Work: Hacking Across the US/México Techno-Borderlands (Princeton UP, 2023), Héctor Beltrán examines Mexican and Latinx coders’ personal strate…

Amanda Mei Kim, "California Obscura," The Common magazine (2023)

April 19, 2024

California Obscura

Amanda Mei Kim
Hosted by Emily Everett

Amanda Mei Kim speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her essay “California Obscura,” which appears in The Common’s most recent issue, in a por…

Ieva Jusionyte, "Exit Wounds: How America's Guns Fuel Violence Across the Border" (U California Press, 2024)

April 15, 2024

Exit Wounds

Ieva Jusionyte
Hosted by Reighan Gillam

American guns have entangled the lives of people on both sides of the US-Mexico border in a vicious circle of violence. After treating wounded migrant…

Paul Carter, "Richard Nixon: California's Native Son" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

March 29, 2024

Richard Nixon

Paul Carter
Hosted by Caleb Zakarin

Born in Yorba Linda and raised in Whittier, California, Nixon succeeded early in life, excelling in academics while enjoying athletics through high sc…

Brent M. Rogers, "Buffalo Bill and the Mormons" (U Nebraska Press, 2024)

March 24, 2024

Buffalo Bill and the Mormons

Brent M. Rogers
Hosted by Joseph Stuart

In this never-before-told history of Buffalo Bill and the Mormons, Brent M. Rogers presents the intersections in the epic histories of William F. "Buf…

John William Nelson, "Muddy Ground: Native Peoples, Chicago's Portage, and the Transformation of a Continent" (UNC Press, 2023)

March 23, 2024

Muddy Ground

John William Nelson
Hosted by Stephen Hausmann

The birchbark canoe is among the most remarkable Indigenous technologies in North America, facilitating mobility throughout the watery world of the Gr…

Looking into the Heart of Arizona: A Discussion with Author Tom Zoellner

March 21, 2024

Looking into the Heart of Arizona

Tom Zoellner
Hosted by Paul Starobin

In Rim to River: Looking into the Heart of Arizona (University of Arizona Press, 2023), Tom Zoellner, a fifth-generation Arizonan, takes the reader on…

Amy Absher, "Fritzie: The Invented Life and Violent Murder of a Flapper" (U Oklahoma Press, 2023)

March 21, 2024


Amy Absher

One January day in 1923, a young boy came across the dead body of a twenty-year-old woman on a San Diego beach. When the police arrived on the scene, …

Christina Gish Hill et al., "National Parks, Native Sovereignty: Experiments in Collaboration" (U Oklahoma Press, 2024)

March 20, 2024

National Parks, Native Sovereignty

Christina Gish Hill, Matthew J. Hill, and Brooke Neely
Hosted by Stephen Hausmann

The history of Native people and the National Park Service in the United States is fraught. Dispossession, cultural insensitivity, and outright erasur…

Lisa Messeri, "In the Land of the Unreal: Virtual and Other Realities in Los Angeles" (Duke UP, 2024)

March 16, 2024

In the Land of the Unreal

Lisa Messeri
Hosted by Noopur Raval

In the mid-2010s, a passionate community of Los Angeles-based storytellers, media artists, and tech innovators formed around virtual reality (VR), bel…

Secret Harvests: A Hidden Story of Separation and the Resilience of a Family Farm

March 14, 2024

Secret Harvests

David Mas Masumoto

Today’s book is: Secret Harvests: A Hidden Story of Separation and the Resilience of a Family Farm (Red Hen Press, 2023), by David Mas Masumoto. In hi…

Sarah Keyes, "American Burial Ground: A New History of the Overland Trail" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2023)

February 25, 2024

American Burial Ground

Sarah Keyes
Hosted by Stephen Hausmann

The Overland Trail into the American West is one of the most culturally recognizable symbols of the American past: white covered wagons traversing the…

Laurence Ralph, "Sito: An American Teenager and the City That Failed Him" (Grand Central Publishing, 2023)

February 21, 2024


Laurence Ralph
Hosted by Reighan Gillam

In September of 2019, Luis Alberto Quiñonez—known as Sito— was shot to death as he sat in his car in the Mission District of San Francisco. He was nin…

Matthew C. Ward, "Making the Frontier Man: Violence, White Manhood, and Authority in the Early Western Backcountry" (U Pittsburgh Press, 2023)

February 18, 2024

Making the Frontier Man

Matthew C. Ward
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

For western colonists in the early American backcountry, disputes often ended in bloodshed and death. Making the Frontier Man: Violence, White Manhood…

Julia Ornelas-Higdon, "The Grapes of Conquest: Race, Labor, and the Industrialization of California Wine, 1769–1920" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

February 3, 2024

The Grapes of Conquest

Julia Ornelas-Higdon
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

California’s wine country conjures images of pastoral vineyards and cellars lined with oak barrels. As a mainstay of the state’s economy, California w…