iPlayer Radio What's New?
Listen
On Now : Front Row
Toby Jones; Maps to the Stars review; Rose Tremain; John Lahr on Tennessee Williams
Image for The American West

Play now 45 mins

The American West

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 13 June 2002

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the myths and harsh reality of the 19th century American pioneers. In 1845 the editor of The New York Morning News wrote that it was the "manifest destiny" of the United States "to overspread and to posses the whole of the continent which providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us." With such phrases ringing in their ears the pioneering wagon trains rolled west into the uncharted wilderness of the American continent. Thus began the wagon trails that cut a path beyond the frontier to California and Oregon, a path soon to be followed by gold prospectors, entrepreneurs, cowboys and finally the US army itself. But what propelled them all to go? Was it an "experiment of liberty", or the promise of a better life? Does the story of the frontier help us to understand the American psyche and do our ideas about the American West owe more to the mythology of John Wayne movies than to the history of the real trailblazers? With Frank McLynn, Visiting Professor in the Department of Literature, University of Strathclyde; Jenni Calder, Author of There Must Be a Lone Ranger: The myth and reality of the American Wild West; Christopher Frayling, Rector of the Royal College of Art.

Broadcasts

Featured in...

In Our Time Downloads

melvyn-bragg.jpg

Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Podcasts

  1. Image for In Our Time Archive: Culture

    In Our Time Archive: Culture

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas as it applies to culture - from literature…

  2. Image for In Our Time Archive: History

    In Our Time Archive: History

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the people, conflicts and events that have shaped the world.

  3. Image for In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of philosophy - from ancient Greek thinkers to the…

  4. Image for In Our Time Archive: Religion

    In Our Time Archive: Religion

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of religious ideas - from the faith systems of…

  5. Image for In Our Time Archive: Science

    In Our Time Archive: Science

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas and the evolution of the sciences - from…

  6. Image for In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas - including topics drawn from philosophy,…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss