So. I landed a job teaching humanities (an amalgamation of language arts and social studies). As a big project, I want my 11th graders to read a work of historical fiction, do research on primary sources the author may have used to create the work, and then create a portfolio about the novel to present as a final exam project. My request: I need the titles of FICTION books (novels) about the American West to coincide with a unit on Westward Expansion, Indian Removal, and Manifest Destiny.

Already on the list: Death Comes for the Archbishop, Crazy Woman, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven.

Now I need some suggestions: What about Buffalo Soldiers, Blacks on the American Frontier, and Mexican and Spanish settlement of the West. AND. . .It needs to be fiction.

Lay it on me.

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The list has not been set yet, but I am very grateful about the recommendations! I will let everyone know the list when it is finalized.

Right now, it is: Lonesome Dove, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven, Death Comes for the Archbishop, Crazy Woman, The Way to Rainy Mountain, Call of the Wild, Ramona.

And the list continues. . .
This looks like a great list for a DCF reading group!
I don't know if it fits any of your three categories but The Milagro Beanfield War is my all-time favorite book set in the West (New Mexico). I didn't read it for years because I thought it was about a provincial war somewhere in the state with the folks from Milagro and Beanfield shooting at each other. I second Angle of Repose if for nothing more than the mathematical lesson in the title. I have serious problems with Mitchner. He may have done good work on Centennial, but his book Sports in America, 1976, was riddled with errors and faulty conclusions, particularly about the UTEP-Kentucky national championship black v. white basketball game. I figured out his flaws after hoping to quote from Sports in America in a book I am writing on the subject in New Mexico. Mitchner just wrote too many books to have been on target, and must have had a huge staff that fed him semi-prepared material that he accepted without verification.
Grab a Max Evans book.

A great update:

My students read Ramona, Death Comes for the Archbishop, O Pioneers, My Antonia, Call of the Wild, Crazy Woman, Storyteller, The Hi-Lo Country, Lonesome Dove and Desert Solitaire. I was going to invite everyone from Duke City Fix, but I wanted to give them a chance to be successful while not under the spotlight. Their projects were wonderful! If you want the rubric, drop me a line and I will give you the project requirements.


Thanks to this community for helping with ideas!

So good to get a follow-up report.  Glad the course readings worked. I'm curious, how did Desert Solitaire go over? My own kids have really enjoyed reading Abbey, but I don't know if that is because they are *my* kids.  I had mixed success when I assigned Abbey to my UNM frosh way back ten years ago.


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