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Stephen Aron Discussed Recent Book on “Historically Thinking” Podcast
October 28, 2022

For over a generation the history of the American West has been described by scholars as one of violence, including genocide, ethnic-cleansing, and settler colonialism. While it replaced an older history which spoke of “winning the West” and the triumph of civilization, curiously enough both the old and the now aging histories of the west focused on violence. After all, in the popular imagination, every Western town hosted a gunfight in its one street on a nearly daily basis.
But what if amidst the violence there were also moments of concord and overcoming difference? What if these moments of concord played out in more or less the same place and time as moments of violence? This is the argument of Stephen Aron in his new book Peace and Friendship: An Alternative History of the American West, which investigates moments where unexpectedly peaceful relationships were built in the American West.