Cover for AQUILA: Wanted Dead or Alive: The American West in Popular Culture

Wanted Dead or Alive

The American West in Popular Culture

Ah, the Wild West! Wide open plains, beautiful sunsets, and thundering herds. Days when the cowboy was king, and good guys always wore white. The love affair with the American West has stood the test of time and survived competition from sports, electronic gadgets, and reality.

Wanted Dead or Alive presents the first-ever comprehensive look at how the American West has been depicted in popular culture. Following Richard Aquila's introduction, which examines the birth and growth of the pop culture West in the context of American history, noted experts explore developments in popular Western fiction, major forms of live Western entertainment, trends in Western movies and television shows, images of the West in popular music, and visual images of the West in popular art and advertising. For the reader on the trail of even more information, each section of the book concludes with suggestions for further reading.


"A valuable chronicle of the development of the Western story form across the mass media."--Journal of Popular Film and Television

"Exhaustive and amusing. . . . In the collected essays of Wanted Dead or Alive, the subject is the West's remarkable track record as an inspiration for all manner of pop-culture expression."--San Francisco Review of Books

"The most comprehensive look to date at how the myths and images of the American West have penetrated the nation's popular culture."--Richard Slatta, author of Cowboys of the Americas


Richard Aquila, a professor of history and director of the American Studies Program at Ball State University, is the author of The Iroquois Restoration: Iroquois Diplomacy on the Colonial Frontier, 1701-1754 and That Old Time Rock and Roll.

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