"The Chisholm Trail: Joseph McCoy’s Great Gamble" wins inaugural award

“This book award gives us the opportunity to encourage and acknowledge excellence in Western American Studies research”

 

West Texas A&M University’s Center for the Study of the American West (CSAW) announced the winner of its first CSAW Award for Outstanding Western Book, The Chisholm Trail: Joseph McCoy’s Great Gamble by James E. Sherow.

 

Published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2018, Sherow’s book is a study of how Joseph McCoy and his brother “gambled” on Abilene, Kansas, as the waystation for thousands of Texas longhorns moving north to market during the late nineteenth century. The Chisholm Trail integrates the Great Plains into the mainstream of US history and incorporates economic and environmental histories to show how beef changed the plains, American diets, and business practices.

 

“This book is perhaps the most complete history of the Chisholm Trail, placing familiar tales such as gunfights and cattle drives into a much wider historical context,” said Dr. Tim Bowman, history professor at WT.

 

The CSAW Award for Outstanding Western Book is a juried prize recognizing books that demonstrate excellent scholarly or creative insight concerning the American West or some aspect of its history, culture, society, or environment.

 

“This book award gives us the opportunity to encourage and acknowledge excellence in Western American Studies research,” said Alex Hunt, CSAW director.

 

Of particular interest are books that are geographically relevant to the Southern Plains region and/or the concerns of a Southern Plains regional readership. Those that balance scholarly/creative excellence with accessible style or popular appeal, and books that are in keeping with CSAW’s general mission in that they balance a localized focus with global perspective and significance.

 

According to the 2019 award committee, Sherow’s work exemplifies all of these elements.

 

The runner-up for the award is Monica Muñoz-Martinez’s The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas (Harvard University Press, 2018). Muñoz-Martinez’s book is a study of how generations of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in South Texas dealt with the legacies of mob violence, terror, and killings (often at the hands of the Texas Rangers) over the course of the twentieth century.

 

Western books published in 2019 can be submitted for consideration for the 2020 CSAW Award for Outstanding Western Book. The deadline is April 1.