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K-State Today

November 15, 2019

History professor Jim Sherow wins multiple awards for latest book

Submitted by Malorie Sougey

The Chisholm Trail book cover

Jim Sherow, university distinguished professor in the College of Arts and Sciences' history department, has been honored with multiple awards for his latest book on the famous Chisholm Trail.

Sherow's book, "The Chisholm Trail: Joseph McCoy's Great Gamble," published in 2018, explores the significance of the tiny waystation in Abilene, Kansas, established by Joseph McCoy after the Civil War. The Great Western railroad outlet lured thousands of Texas longhorns to move north to market during the late 19th century. Sherow highlights the significance of the Great Plains in U.S. history by exploring the environmental costs of the cattle drives, changes to the American diet, and national business practices.

"I am thrilled with the reception of this book," Sherow said.

In October 2019, "The Chisholm Trail" won the Award for Outstanding Western Book by West Texas A&M University's Center for the Study of American West, a juried prize recognizing books that demonstrate excellent scholarly or creative insight concerning the American West or some aspect of its history, culture, society or environment.

"This book is perhaps the most complete history of the Chisholm Trail, placing familiar tales such as gunfights and cattle drives into a much wider historical context," said Tim Bowman, professor of history at West Texas A&M University.

Sherow's book was also awarded the Hal K. Rothman Prize by the Western History Association at its annual meeting in October. The Rothman Book Award annually recognizes the best book in western environmental history defined in its broadest sense.

The Western History Association had this to say of "The Chisholm Trail": "Employing a truly ecological approach to the trail, [Sherow] examines human beings as a keystone in species in shaping an ecosystem that stretches from nearly microscopic levels of tick biology all the way to the dinner tables of New York City."

"The Chisholm Trail" was also selected as the second-place winner of the Co-Founders "Best Book" Award by the Westerners International Annual Awards committee with recognition and a cash award. The prize recognizes the best nonfiction books written by a member of Westerners International concerning an aspect of the American West.

In April 2019, "The Chisholm Trail" was selected as a finalist for the Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize, by the Center for Great Plains Studies in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Sherow is the author of five other books: "Railroad Empire Across the Heartland: Rephotographing Alexander Gardner's Westward Journey," 2014; "Images of America: Manhattan," 2013; "The Grasslands of the United States: An Environmental History," 2007; "A Sense of the American West: An Anthology of Environmental History," 1998; and "Watering the Valley: Development along the High Plains Arkansas River, 1870-1950," 1990.