"The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History" by D. W. Meinig

The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History Volume 3: Transcontinental America, 1850–1915 D. W. Meinig

Publication date:
10 Apr 2000
Yale University Press
458 pages:
70 b-w illus.


This is the third of four volumes in a series acclaimed by both historians and geographers for its breathtaking scope and originality. D. W. Meinig continues his riveting account of America’s interwoven history and geography, describing the expanding country’s development from the mid-nineteenth century to 1915. To accompany his interpretation of America’s geographic evolution, Meinig offers forty superb new maps and forty-five other illustrations. Each original map enhances our historical understanding of the patterns, features, and themes of American history.

The book begins with the struggle over where to build the Pacific railway and fix the nation’s first transcontinental axis. Meinig portrays in detail the settlement of the diverse regions of the American West and how these many “Wests” were incorporated into the growing nation. He then examines the South as an imperial province and the dominance of the American Core over an increasingly consolidated nation. In conclusion, the author considers America’s imperial pressures upon Canada and Mexico, the country’s overt expansions in the Caribbean and the Pacific, and the Panama Canal as a transcontinental completion.

D. W. Meinig is Maxwell Research Professor of Geography at Syracuse University and the author of Volumes 1 and 2 of The Shaping of America.

“The geographical development of the nation in this period comes through with a fullness and power that make this book a compelling read for anyone with any curiosity about the American experience on this continent.”—Michael P. Conzen, University of Chicago