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Mythic Galveston: Reinventing America's Third Coast, Susan Wiley Hardwick

1 Mythic Galveston: Reinventing America's Third Coast
Susan Wiley Hardwick
200 pages, 25 line drawings and 32 halftones, hardback, Johns Hopkins University Press
Despite its appeal as a natural harbor, Galveston, Texas, is located on a small Gulf Coast barrier island that makes it ill-suited for dense urban development. Early American and European settlers envisioned Galveston harbor as a place with tremendous economic potential, appropriate for urban expansion. In Mythic Galveston: Reinventing America's Third Coast, Susan Wiley Hardwick examines Galveston's rapid rise and the myth created by immigrants and boosters to promote the vision of an abundant island with a highly temperate, even tropical, climate, ideal for settlement. Hardwick's historical analysis focuses on immigrant settlement patterns and the important contributions to Galveston's evolving sense of place made by diverse ethnic and racial groups .
As the Ellis Island of the Third Coast, Galveston served as a major gateway for immigrants heading for the Great Plains, the West, and other parts of North America during the latter part of the nineteenth century and into the early part of the twentieth century. Galveston's reputation as an ethnically diverse and cosmopolitan city fostered a myth of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic harmony. Although such harmony was largely illusory, Hardwick argues that Galveston was a truly global city from the earliest days of settlement, giving it a social ambience distinct from that of the mainland. Mythic Galveston vividly illustrates how a place especially vulnerable to the forces of nature has grown into a culturally vibrant city within America's Third Coast.

About Author
Susan Wiley Hardwick is an associate professor of geography at the University of Oregon.

"Much more than just another narrative history of Galveston. Hardwick . . . traces the confluence of physical, social, cultural, economic, and political factors that shaped this coastal city's identity and evolution."--East Texas Historical Journal

"The book, in its exploration of ethnic diversity in Galveston, offers grounds for thought and for new perspectives on the city."--Patrick H. Butler III, Public Historian

"Mythic Galveston is a magnificent geography . . . Hardwick weaves everything together into a wonderful fusion of Galveston and its people as a distinctive place and posits the island and city as part of an emerging Gulf Coast, Third Coast, or Creole Coast region."--James D. Lowry, Jr., Journal of Cultural Geography

"Galveston is a place that invites visitors to stroll along its beaches and marvel at its historic buildings. Yet for generations of immigrants, it was also the Ellis Island of the South. This slim but meticulous study recaptures the lives of those immigrants and how they shaped this Texas city."--Matthew W. Klingle, American Historical Review

"Hardwick provides a geographer's perspective to her important new study of Galveston, Texas . . . Mythic Galveston is a welcome addition to the ever-growing literature on a fascinating and important city."--James C. Maroney, Journal of American History

"This is a superb place-portrait of one of America's most distinctive, and least-known, cities. Professor Hardwick presents a factual and interpretative narrative, written in a sprightly style that reveals her enthusiasm for the city."--Terry G. Jordan-Bychkov, University of Texas at Austin
Price: 45.00 USD


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