The Western World According to Cheney

The Western World According to Cheney

Maya Desai

It all started in the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election. Waterford High School history and government teacher Mr. Ian Cheney had spent the duration of election season writing analysis for Construction Literary Magazine. Trying to find his next big project, Cheney turned to western history, using his preparations for his class as a baseline for his new project: Who Made the West: A Ranking of the 30 Most Influential Figures in Western History. The “Top 30” was originally published by Construction Literary Magazine before transitioning to Cheney’s website, Presidential Politics for America.  

In order to write his rankings, which average three to four thousand words, Cheney transformed information from his lessons into a written story. He described the body of each entry as the lectures he does in class, while the humorous footnotes are the fun analysis that happens on the side. 

The “Top 30” was never intended to be a book, but as more people suggested it, the idea took root. The collection of the rankings was already the size of a book, and after the 2020 election, the arduous publication process began. Overall, it took six months for Cheney to compile everything into one document, find editors, and format the book. The book was self-published on June 15, 2021. 

Who Made the West can be purchased on Amazon or borrowed from the Waterford Public Library. You can hear the WHS librarian interview Cheney on YouTube or on the online edition of The Lancelot.