280 pages, 6 x 9
26 b&w illustrations, 1 map
Cowboy Pilots and the Myth of the Last Frontier
University of Washington Press
Aviation catapulted Alaska into the modern age, bringing the mosttechnologically advanced planes and equipment of the time to the regionand placed Alaska at the center of Cold War stage as the first defenseagainst the Soviet Union -- and as a “sky bridge” toconnect the US with Asia. Yet Alaska’s aviation contributionswere downplayed in order to perpetuate the standard Western tropes thatcelebrate the “cowboy spirit” and the taming of wilderness,resulting in an Alaskan image problem that persists to this day: moststill think of the state as hopelessly stuck in time and in need oftaming.
Katherine Johnson Ringsmuth is a senior curator ofhistory at the Anchorage Museum.
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