Centennial Essay, Research Paper


The story of Centennial constitutes the saying, “the winning of the West.” This story is of the land and the Indians who inhabited it and of the people of many nations who came to drive them out. Centennial is based solidly on the facts of history, but history is only the background. The real story is that of the people; Indians, trappers, traders, adventurers, explorers, gold-seekers, ranchers, cowboys, homesteaders, farmers and hunters who are all involved in many dramatic events and endless conflicts.

Centennial covered a wide array of time periods. It ranged from the creation of the Earth to the 1970’s. This story really showed the conflicts the people of the times had to endure and how hard their lives were back in frontier times. The times were so demanding and unpleasant.

The book follows American History through the lives of several families. One family that stands out is the Zendt family. Levi Zendt, a Mennonite shunned by his family and community, was forced to leave all that he knew in the search of creating a new life. This new life would require heading west, ultimately creating a post that eventually became the town of Centennial.

Another family followed in the book was the Venneford family. Through their story and troubles we see the creation of the greatest cattle ranch in the West. Ultimately the choices they are required to make in keeping and providing for their cattle and farm affect all the lives and people in the town in Centennial.

One of the less reputable families I followed in the book was the Wendell family. They came to the West pulling the “badger game,” a scheme to rip-off innocent men of land holdings and wealth. The Wendell family eventually became real estate brokers and enticed many new people to the farming life in Colorado, taking advantage of the Homestead Act.

I thought this book was very long and tedious. I got a feel for the history of our country but more importantly I was impressed with the individual sacrifices each person in this novel had to make.

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