On the whole, Henry Nash Smith's Virgin Land, published in 1950, received highly complimentary reviews. More than a dozen journals critiqued the book and nearly every reviewer recognized its historical or literary significance. According to Richard Hofstadter, writing for the American Quarterly, "there is hardly a phase of American though about America that it does not directly or tangentially illuminate.

The journals that published reviews of Virgin Land are listed below and are grouped in terms of disciplinary focus. It is interesting to note that, of the minor criticisms Henry Nash Smith received, historical journals invoked the majority of them. The Historian, for example, cited a handful of factual errors, while The Journal of Southern History chides Smith for neglecting to comment on the "gold rushes, cattle industry, modern reclamation, vacation areas, Indian life, or industrial expansion on the Pacific Coast." The American Historical Review criticized Smith for using abstract literary terms such as "symbol" and "myth," and "hoped that use of these terms will not prove catching."


American Historical Review

Catholic Historical Review

The Historian


American Quarterly

Annals of the American Academy


Political Science Quarterly


Journal of Southern History

Journal of the West

Missouri Historical Review

Pacific Historical Review

Southwest Review