Ohio History Journal

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By Walter Havighurst. Regions of

America Series, edited by Carl Car-

mer. (New York: Harper & Row, 1962.

xi ?? 400p.; map, illustrations, bibliog-

raphy, and index. $5.95.)

This book portrays and interprets the

history, achievements, and character of

the area which became Ohio, Indiana, and

Illinois from the coming of the French

to the present. Professor Havighurst

understands that the area has a favorable

location and that it is rich in natural

resources. He is also aware that it has

achieved significant economic, political,

and cultural attainments within a remark-

ably short span of time. In fact, Ohio,

Indiana, and Illinois are "the heartland,

the center of America's population and

the source of important currents of its

political, economic and cultural life"

(p. 3).

The American Middle West, however,

cannot be subdivided into distinct geo-

graphical areas.  Havighurst himself

speaks of the "heartland" of Ohio, Indi-

ana, and Illinois as "a land without bar-

riers" and "an avenue through which

restless people, many of its own among

them, moved on to new frontiers" to the

west (p. 4). Nevertheless, he asserts that

these three states have more in common

with one another than they have with

their neighbors. The reviewer concurs,

but he disagrees with the thesis that "the

Ohio River marks a border; in character

and in tradition Kentucky is distinct from

the states that face it on the north"

(p. 3). From early American settlement

to the present, the residents of southern

Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois have at times

felt closer ties and associations between

themselves and the residents of Kentucky

than between themselves and the northern

inhabitants of their own states.

The volume is not as current as might

be desired concerning the findings of his-

torians. Here and there commonly known

information is offered with but little inter-

pretation, while elsewhere bold interpre-

tations are made with limited factual

support. Errors of fact and dogmatic

views are too common. For instance,

Pickawillany, Ohio, is said to be located

on the Ohio River (p. 41), Governor

William Henry Harrison is said to have

cleared the Indian title from "all of

Illinois" (p. 93), Hancock (presumably

Winfield S.) is listed as a Confederate

general (p. 267), and Havighurst un-

qualifiedly asserts that La Salle, in 1669,

"was the first white man to pass down

the Ohio into the green heart of the

continent" (p. 15).

Fortunately, The Heartland is written

by one who understands and appreci-

ates the significance of the outstanding

achievements of Ohio, Indiana, and Illi-

nois. Moreover, it offers much useful

and interesting information about selected

aspects, chapters, and personalities in the

history of these three states.


Indiana University


AMERICAN LIFE. By Freeman Tilden.

(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962.