Congratulations to WHA President-Elect Susan L. Johnson!

Tuesday, February 02, 2021 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Announcement from the University of North Carolina Press:

UNC Press announces the publication of Writing Kit Carson:  Fallen Heroes in a Changing West by Susan Lee Johnson. For more information on exam copies and how to purchase, see below.

Writing Kit Carson

Fallen Heroes in a Changing West

Susan Lee Johnson


In this critical biography, Susan Lee Johnson braids together lives over time and space, telling tales of two white women who, in the 1960s, wrote books about the fabled frontiersman Christopher "Kit" Carson: Quantrille McClung, a Denver librarian who compiled the Carson-Bent-Boggs Genealogy, and Kansas-born but Washington, D.C.- and Chicago-based Bernice Blackwelder, a singer on stage and radio, a CIA employee, and the author of Great Westerner: The Story of Kit Carson. In the 1970s, as once-celebrated figures like Carson were falling headlong from grace, these two amateur historians kept weaving stories of western white men, including those who married American Indian and Spanish Mexican women, just as Carson had wed Singing Grass, Making Out Road, and Josefa Jaramillo.

Johnson’s multilayered biography reveals the nature of relationships between women historians and male historical subjects and between history buffs and professional historians. It explores the practice of history in the context of everyday life, the seductions of gender in the context of racialized power, and the strange contours of twentieth-century relationships predicated on nineteenth-century pasts. On the surface, it tells a story of lives tangled across generation and geography. Underneath run probing questions about how we know about the past and how that knowledge is shaped by the conditions of our knowing.


"A remarkably thoughtful, subtle, genre-bending study that weaves history and historiography, politics, and memoir, into an eloquent whole."

--Emma Donoghue, author of Room and The Pull of the Stars

"This is a work of daunting originality, one that only a skilled and experienced historian could attempt. Susan Johnson tells her tale with imagination, daring, and grace."

--Richard White, author of The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896

528 pages  $29.95  hardcover

Published in association with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas

For more information and to read an excerpt, visit the book page.

Electronic exam copies are also now available and are free to instructors.
Visit the 
For Educators page on our website for details.

And, when you visit our site, take advantage of our current online promotion – save 40 percent off any UNC Press book – and if your order totals $75.00, shipping is FREE.   Visit   – and use promo code 01DAH40 at checkout.

Book Reviewers/Media:  PDFs are available for book reviewers and other media.  To make your request, contact

The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas.

The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!

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