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History > U.S. History > Local and Regional > Midwest

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Dragging Wyatt Earp Cover

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Dragging Wyatt Earp

A Personal History of Dodge City

Robert Rebein

In Dragging Wyatt Earp essayist Robert Rebein explores what it means to grow up in, leave, and ultimately return to the iconic Western town of Dodge City, Kansas. In chapters ranging from memoir to reportage to revisionist history, Rebein contrasts his hometown’s Old West heritage with a New West reality that includes salvage yards, beefpacking plants, and bored teenagers cruising up and down Wyatt Earp Boulevard.

Along the way, Rebein covers a vast expanse of place and time and revisits a number of Western myths, including those surrounding Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, the Cheyenne chief Black Kettle, George Armstrong Custer, and of course Wyatt Earp himself. Rebein rides a bronc in a rodeo, spends a day as a pen rider at a local feedlot, and attempts to “buck the tiger” at Dodge City’s new Boot Hill Casino and Resort.

Funny and incisive, Dragging Wyatt Earp is an exciting new entry in what is sometimes called the nonfiction of place. It is a must- read for anyone interested in Western history, contemporary memoir, or the collision of Old and New West on the High Plains of Kansas.

Dusty, Deek, and Mr. Do-Right Cover

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Dusty, Deek, and Mr. Do-Right

High School Football in Illinois

Taylor Bell

From small towns like Metamora, Aledo, and Carthage to East St. Louis and Chicago's South Side, Illinois's high school football fields have been the proving ground for such future stars as Dick Butkus, Red Grange, and Otto Graham. In Dusty, Deek, and Mr. Do-Right, longtime fan and sportswriter Taylor Bell shares the stories of the greatest players, toughest coaches, most memorable games, and fiercest rivalries in Illinois history. Drawing on dozens of personal interviews, Bell profiles memorable figures such as Tuscola's record-setting quarterback Dusty Burk, Pittsfield's brutally demanding yet devoted Coach Donald "Deek" Pollard, and Evanston's Murney "Mr. Do-Right" Lazier, who coached sternly but without prejudice in the racially charged 1960s and '70s. The book also discusses winning programs at schools such as East St. Louis, Mount Carmel, and Joliet Catholic, as well as long-standing rivalries and memorable games in the state playoff and Prep Bowl._x000B__x000B_The ultimate book for high school football fans in Illinois, Dusty, Deek, and Mr. Do-Right is infused with Bell's own love for the game and illustrated with sixty photographs of the players and coaches who made lifetime memories under the Friday night lights.

The edge of the woods Cover

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The edge of the woods

Iroquoia, 1534-1701

Jon Parmenter

Drawing on archival and published documents in several languages, archeological data, and Iroquois oral traditions, The Edge of the Woods explores the ways in which spatial mobility represented the geographic expression of Iroquois social, political, and economic priorities. By reconstructing the late precolonial Iroquois settlement landscape and the paths of human mobility that constructed and sustained it, Jon Parmenter challenges the persistent association between Iroquois 'locality' and Iroquois 'culture,' and more fully maps the extended terrain of physical presence and social activity that Iroquois people inhabited. Studying patterns of movement through and between the multiple localities in Iroquois space, the book offers a new understanding of Iroquois peoplehood during this period. According to Parmenter, Iroquois identities adapted, and even strengthened, as the very shape of Iroquois homelands changed dramatically during the seventeenth century.

The Emerald Horizon Cover

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The Emerald Horizon

The History of Nature in Iowa

In The Emerald Horizon, Cornelia Mutel combines lyrical writing with meticulous scientific research to portray the environmental past, present, and future of Iowa. In doing so, she ties all of Iowa's natural features into one comprehensive whole.

Since so much of the tallgrass state has been transformed into an agricultural landscape, Mutel focuses on understanding today’s natural environment by understanding yesterday’s changes. After summarizing the geological, archaeological, and ecological features that shaped Iowa’s modern landscape, she recreates the once-wild native communities that existed prior to Euroamerican settlement. Next she examines the dramatic changes that overtook native plant and animal communities as Iowa’s prairies, woodlands, and wetlands were transformed. Finally she presents realistic techniques for restoring native species and ecological processes as well as a broad variety of ways in which Iowans can reconnect with the natural world. Throughout, in addition to the many illustrations commissioned for this book, she offers careful scientific exposition, a strong sense of respect for the land, and encouragement to protect the future by learning from the past.

The “emerald prairie” that “gleamed and shone to the horizon’s edge,” as botanist Thomas Macbride described it in 1895, has vanished. Cornelia Mutel’s passionate dedication to restoring this damaged landscape—and by extension the transformed landscape of the entire Corn Belt—invigorates her blend of natural history and human history. Believing that citizens who are knowledgeable about native species, communities, and ecological processes will better care for them, she gives us hope—and sound suggestions—for the future.

Environmental Politics and the Creation of a Dream Cover

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Environmental Politics and the Creation of a Dream

Establishing the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Harold C. Jordahl

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a breathtakingly beautiful archipelago of twenty-two islands in Lake Superior, just off the tip of northern Wisconsin. For years, the national park has been a favorite destination for tourists and locals alike, but the remarkable story behind its creation is little known. In Environmental Politics and the Creation of a Dream, Harold Jordahl, one of the primary advocates for designating the islands as a national park, discloses the full story behind the effort to preserve their natural beauty for posterity. He describes in detail the political and bureaucratic complexities of the national lakeshore campaign, augmented by his own personal recollections and those of such prominent figures as Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and President John F. Kennedy. Writing in collaboration with Annie Booth, Jordahl recounts how activists, legislators, media, local residents, and other players shaped the islands’ future establishment as a national park.

Esther's Town Cover

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Esther's Town

Deemer Lee

Esther's Town could be "Any Town, U.S.A.," for the equals of its cast of characters can be found in any small town. And here, as usual, was the town newspaper editor, the observing eye of all the foibles and peccadillos that form any town's history. Remembering all the years with love and humor, editor Deemer Lee chronicled the forty-four years he gathered and wrote news—forty-one of them as editor and publisher of his town's newspaper.

He dug into old records, recalled old times, and talked with old-timers. He illuminated the transition of a town, from Estherville’s pioneer settlement to the busy, active town it is today.

The excitement and fun begin with a story of bootleggers, Chautauqua meetings, and an accomplished arsonist—who achieves in less than two months the impressive score of burning seven barns and one feed store, with an unsuccessful attempt on the Methodist church. Scandinavians move in, build crude shelters for the first winter, and add their special characteristics to the town. The Irish arrive and stamp their mark on the whole territory. The circus comes to town and entrances everyone with its ancient pageantry. The railroads come through and add a rowdy element to the population. The Depression begins and farms see 11-cent corn, 108-degree heat, and a twister.

All these events, plus adventures with a massive meteorite and haunting river tragedies, create the drama and flow of small-town life, story by story, in a fascinating revelation of Americana. 

Everyday klansfolk  Cover

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Everyday klansfolk

white protestant life and the KKK in 1920s Michigan

Craig Fox

In 1920s Middle America, the Ku Klux Klan gained popularity not by appealing to the fanatical fringes of society, but by attracting the interest of “average” citizens. During this period, the Klan recruited members through the same unexceptional channels as any other organization or club, becoming for many a respectable public presence, a vehicle for civic activism, or the source of varied social interaction. Its diverse membership included men and women of all ages, occupations, and socio-economic standings. Although surviving membership records of this clandestine organization have proved incredibly rare, Everyday Klansfolk uses newly available documents to reconstruct the life and social context of a single grassroots unit in Newaygo County, Michigan. A fascinating glimpse behind the mask of America’s most notorious secret order, this absorbing study sheds light on KKK activity and membership in Newaygo County, and in Michigan at large, during the brief and remarkable peak years of its mass popular appeal.

Exploring Buried Buxton Cover

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Exploring Buried Buxton

Archaeology of an Abandoned Iowa Coal Mining Town with a Large Black Population

Few sources before have dealt with the archaeology of African American settlements outside the Atlantic seaboard and the southern states. This book describes in detail the archaeological investigations conducted at the town site of Buxton, Iowa, a coal mining community inhabited by a significantly large population of blacks between 1900 and 1925.

David Gradwohl and Nancy Osborn present the archaeology of Buxton from “the group up” to articulate the material remains with the data acquired from archival studies and oral history interviews. They also examine the broader significance of the Buxton experience in terms of those who lived there and their children and grandchildren who have heard about Buxton all their lives.

The Fall and Recapture of Detroit in the War of 1812 Cover

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The Fall and Recapture of Detroit in the War of 1812

In Defense of William Hull

Anthony J. Yanik

Details the first major U.S. setback in the War of 1812 and analyzes the background and aftermath of Hull’s surrender.

Finland-Swedes in Michigan Cover

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Finland-Swedes in Michigan

Mika Roinila

Who are the Finland-Swedes? Defined as citizens of Finland with a Swedish mother tongue, many know these people as “Swede- Finns” or simply “Swedes.” This book, the first ever to focus on this ethnolinguistic minority living in Michigan, examines the origins of the Finland-Swedes and traces their immigration patterns, beginning with the arrival of hundreds in the United States in the 1860s. A growing population until the 1920s, when immigration restrictions were put in place, the Finland-Swedes brought with them unique economic, social, cultural, religious, and political institutions, explored here in groundbreaking detail. Drawing on archival, church, and congregational records, interviews, and correspondence, this book paints a vivid portrait of Finland-Swedish life in photographs and text, and also includes detailed maps that show the movement of this group over time. The latest title in the Discovering the Peoples of Michigan series even includes a sampling of traditional Finland-Swedish recipes.

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