On the whole, Henry Nash Smith's Virgin Land (1950) received highly complimentary reviews. More than a dozen journals critiqued the book and nearly every reviewer recognized its historical or literary significance. Richard Hofstadter, writing for the American Quarterly, claimed that "there is hardly a phase of American thought about America that it does not directly or tangentially illuminate."
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."
Lisa Guernsey, The University of Virginia, 12/9/94
POLITICAL SCIENCE JOURNALS