An Analysis of William Cronon's Nature's Metropolis : Chicago and the Great West book cover
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An Analysis of William Cronon's Nature's Metropolis
Chicago and the Great West





ISBN 9781912128921
Published July 19, 2017 by Macat Library
100 Pages

 
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Book Description

What caused the rise of Chicago, and how did the city's expansion fuel the westward movement of the American frontier – and influence the type of society that evolved as a result?

Nature's Metropolis emerged as a result of William Cronon asking and answering those questions, and the work can usefully be seen as an extended example of the critical thinking skill of problem-solving in action. Cronon navigates a path between the followers of Frederick Jackson Turner, author of the thesis that American character was shaped by the experience of the frontier, and revisionists who sought to suggest that the rugged individualism Turner depicted as a creation of life in the West was little but a fiction. For Cronon, the most productive question to ask was not whether or not men forged in the liberty-loving furnace of the Wild West had the sort of impact on America that Turner posited, but the quite different one of how capitalism and political economy had combined to drive the westward expansion of the US. For Cronon, individualism was scarcely even possible in a capitalist machine in which humans were little more than cogs, and the needs and demands of capital, not capitalists, prevailed.

Nature's Metropolis, then, is a work in which the rise of Chicago is explained by generating alternative possibilities, and one that uses a rigorous study of the evidence to decide between competing solutions to the problem. It is also a fine work of interpretation, for a large part of Cronon's argument revolves around his attempt to define exactly what is rural, and what is urban, and how the two interact to create a novel economic force.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the Text  

Who was William Cronon? 

What does Nature's Metropolis: Chicago And The Great West Say?  

Why does What does Nature's Metropolis: Chicago And The Great West Matter?  

Section 1: Influences 

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context 

Module 2: Academic Context 

Module 3: The Problem 

Module 4: The Author's Contribution 

Section 2: Ideas 

Module 5: Main Ideas  

Module 6: Secondary Ideas 

Module 7: Achievement 

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work 

Section 3: Impact 

Module 9: The First Responses 

Module 10: The Evolving Debate  

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today 

Module 12: Where Next? 

Glossary of Terms 

People Mentioned in the Text 

Works Cited

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Author(s)

Biography

Dr Cheryl Hudson holds a PhD in history from Vanderbilt University, where her work examined the political culture of Chicago, 1890-1930. Currently a University Teacher in American history at the University of Liverpool, she has taught at universities in the UK and the USA, including Oxford, Sheffield, Coventry, Vanderbilt and Sussex and is a former director of the academic programme at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford.