> Missouri Historical Review

Vol. 45, 1951

page 420

The Virgin Land. By Henry Nash Smith. (Cambridge, Mass.:

Harvard University Press, 1950. 305 pp.). This is a thoroughgoing evaluation of the myths of the West of the l9th century as they influenced the literature and ideas of the rest of the United States. The author starts with the fabled "passage to India" and the ideas concerning it in the time of Thomas Jefferson. Next he discusses the "sons of Leatherstocking" such and Daniel Boone and Kit Carson and the different concepts which grew up concerning them. The last half of the book is called "The Garden of the World," a term which the author uses to describe the constantly growing agricultural society in the center of the North American continent which became one of the dominant symbols of l9th century society. This volume will be of especial value to students of American literature. Indexed.