The Journal of San Diego History
SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY
Winter 1986, Volume 32, Number 1
Thomas L. Scharf, Editor
Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor
Land of Savagery; Land of Promise: The European Image of the American Frontier in the Nineteenth Century.
By Ray Allen Billington. Paperback Edition. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 1985. Illustrations. Bibliographical Notes. Index. 364 Pages.
United States’ best known historian of the frontier experience since Frederick Jackson Turner, Ray Allen Billington, examined thousands of travel accounts, newspapers, promotional literature and fiction in order to find out what the European image of the American frontier was in the nineteenth century. He published his findings in 1981 in a book one reviewer called his “most significant and original work.” Billington found that the Europeans had two distinct images of the American frontier-a savage land and a fertile land of opportunity. This extremely readable and important book is now available in an inexpensive paperback edition from the University of Oklahoma Press.