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

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Detroit Cover

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Detroit

Race Riots, Racial Conflicts, and Efforts to Bridge the Racial Divide

Joe T. Darden and Richard Thomas

Episodes of racial conflict in Detroit form just one facet of the city’s storied and legendary history, and they have sometimes overshadowed the less widely known but equally important occurrence of interracial cooperation in seeking solutions to the city’s problems. The conflicts also present many opportunities to analyze, learn from, and interrogate the past in order to help lay the groundwork for a stronger, more equitable future. This astute and prudent history poses a number of critical questions: Why and where have race riots occurred in Detroit? How has the racial climate changed or remained the same since the riots? What efforts have occurred since the riots to reduce racial inequality and conflicts, and to build bridges across racial divides? Unique among books on the subject, Detroit pays special attention to post-1967 social and political developments in the city, and expands upon the much-explored black-white dynamic to address the influx of more recent populations to Detroit: Middle Eastern Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans. Crucially, the book explores the role of place of residence, spatial mobility, and spatial inequality as key factors in determining access to opportunities such as housing, education, employment, and other amenities, both in the suburbs and in the city.

Detroit Country Music Cover

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Detroit Country Music

Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies

Craig Maki

The richness of Detroit’s music history has by now been well established. We know all about Motown, the MC5, and Iggy and the Stooges. We also know about the important part the Motor City has played in the history of jazz. But there are stories about the music of Detroit that remain untold. One of the lesser known but nonetheless fascinating histories is contained within Detroit’s country music roots. At last, Craig Maki and Keith Cady bring to light Detroit’s most important country and western and bluegrass stars, such as Chief Redbird, the York Brothers, and Roy Hall. Beyond the individuals, Maki and Cady also map out the labels, radio programs, and performance venues that sustained Detroit’s vibrant country and bluegrass music scene. In the process, Detroit Country Music examines how and why the city’s growth in the early twentieth century, particularly the southern migration tied to the auto industry, led to this vibrant roots music scene. This is the first book—the first resource of any kind—to tell the story of Detroit’s contributions to country music. Craig Maki and Keith Cady have spent two decades collecting music and images, and visiting veteran musicians to amass more than seventy interviews about country music in Detroit. Just as astounding as the book’s revelations are the photographs, most of which have never been published before. Detroit Country Music will be essential reading for music historians, record collectors, roots music fans, and Detroit music aficionados.

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Developing Grant Park

The Evolution of Chicago's Front Yard

Dennis H. Cremin

Not long after the city of Chicago was founded in the 1830s, land was set aside for a public park on the lakefront.  This book focuses on how people changed this public land from an often unsightly neighborhood park into a landscape of regional, national, and international significance. The transformation of the park did not take place quickly or easily, and the current appearance has been the result of a great number of plans, efforts, court battles, and compromises. By “reading” the physical landscape of the park and its monuments, it is possible to gain insight into the cultural history and values of the Chicago community.

A Dictionary of Iowa Place-Names Cover

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A Dictionary of Iowa Place-Names

Lourdes and Churchtown, Woden and Clio, Emerson and Sigourney, Tripoli and Waterloo, Prairie City and Prairieburg, Tama and Swedesburg, What Cheer and Coin. Iowa’s place-names reflect the religions, myths, cultures, families, heroes, whimsies, and misspellings of the Hawkeye State’s inhabitants. Tom Savage spent four years corresponding with librarians, city and county officials, and local historians, reading newspaper archives, and exploring local websites in an effort to find out why these communities received their particular names, when they were established, and when they were incorporated.
    Savage includes information on the place-names of all 1,188 incorporated and unincorporated communities in Iowa that meet at least two of the following qualifications: twenty-five or more residents; a retail business; an annual celebration or festival; a school; church, or cemetery; a building on the National Register of Historic Places; a zip-coded post office; or an association with a public recreation site. If a town’s name has changed over the years, he provides information about each name; if a name’s provenance is unclear, he provides possible explanations. He also includes information about the state’s name and about each of its ninety-nine counties as well as a list of ghost towns. The entries range from the counties of Adair to Wright and from the towns of Abingdon to Zwingle; from Iowa’s oldest town, Dubuque, starting as a mining camp in the 1780s and incorporated in 1841, to its newest, Maharishi Vedic City, incorporated in 2001.
    The imaginations and experiences of its citizens played a role in the naming of Iowa’s communities, as did the hopes of the huge influx of immigrants who settled the state in the 1800s. Tom Savage’s dictionary of place-names provides an appealing genealogical and historical background to today’s map of Iowa.

“It is one of the beauties of Iowa that travel across the state brings a person into contact with so many wonderful names, some of which a traveler may understand immediately, but others may require a bit of investigation. Like the poet Stephen Vincent Benét, we have fallen in love with American names. They are part of our soul, be they family names, town names, or artifact names. We identify with them and are identified with them, and we cannot live without them. This book will help us learn more about them and integrate them into our beings.”—from the foreword by Loren N. Horton

“Primghar, O’Brien County. Primghar was established by W. C. Green and James Roberts on November 8, 1872. The name of the town comes from the initials of the eight men who were instrumental in developing it. A short poem memorializes the men and their names:
Pumphrey, the treasurer, drives the first nail;
Roberts, the donor, is quick on his trail;
Inman dips slyly his first letter in;
McCormack adds M, which makes the full Prim;
Green, thinking of groceries, gives them the G;
Hayes drops them an H, without asking a fee;
Albright, the joker, with his jokes all at par;
Rerick brings up the rear and crowns all ‘Primghar.’
Primghar was incorporated on February 15, 1888.”

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Digital State

The Story of Minnesota's Computing Industry

Thomas J. Misa

Accounts of the early events of the computing industry—the Turing machine, the massive Colossus, the ENIAC computer—are well-told tales, and equally well known is the later emergence of Silicon Valley and the rise of the personal computer. Yet there is an extraordinary untold middle history—with deep roots in Minnesota. From the end of World War II through the 1970s, Minnesota was home to the first computing-centered industrial district in the world.

Drawing on rare archival documents, photographs, and a wealth of oral histories, Digital State unveils the remarkable story of computer development in the heartland after World War II. These decades found corporations—concentrated in large part in Minnesota—designing state-of-the-art mainframe technologies, revolutionizing new methods of magnetic data storage, and, for the first time, truly integrating software and hardware into valuable products for the American government and public. Minnesota-based companies such as Engineering Research Associates, Univac, Control Data, Cray Research, Honeywell, and IBM Rochester were major international players and together formed an unrivaled epicenter advancing digital technologies. These companies not only brought vibrant economic growth to Minnesota, they nurtured the state’s present-day medical device and software industries and possibly even tomorrow’s nanotechnology.

Thomas J. Misa’s groundbreaking history shows how Minnesota recognized and embraced the coming information age through its leading-edge companies, its workforce, and its prominent institutions. Digital State reveals the inner workings of the birth of the digital age in Minnesota and what we can learn from this era of sustained innovation.

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Dime Novel Desperadoes

The Notorious Maxwell Brothers

John E. Hallwas

This thrilling historical true crime narrative recovers the long-forgotten story of Ed and Lon Maxwell, outlaw brothers from Illinois who once rivaled Jesse and Frank James in national notoriety. Growing up hard as the sons of a tenant farmer, the Maxwell brothers embarked on a life of crime that captured the public eye. Made famous locally by newspapers that dramatized crimes and danger, the brothers achieved national prominence in 1881 when they shot and killed Charles and Milton Coleman, lawmen trying to apprehend them. Public outrage sparked the largest manhunt for outlaws in American history, involving some twenty posses who pursued the desperadoes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska. Nevertheless, the daring desperadoes were eventually portrayed as heroes in sensationalistic dime novels._x000B__x000B_A stunning saga of robbery and horse stealing, gunfights and manhunts, murder and mob violence, Dime Novel Desperadoes also delves into the cultural and psychological factors that produced lawbreakers and created a crime wave in the post-Civil War era. Every overview and encyclopedia of American outlaws will need to be revised, and the fabled "Wild West" will have to be extended east of the Mississippi River, in response to this riveting chronicle. With more than forty illustrations and several maps that bring to life the exciting world of the Maxwell brothers, Dime Novel Desperadoes is a new classic in the annals of American outlawry._x000B_

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Door County's Emerald Treasure

A History of Peninsula State Park

William H. Tishler

With its magnificent forests, bluffs, and shoreline and its breathtaking views of Green Bay and Lake Michigan, Door County’s Peninsula State Park is one of the Midwest’s most popular attractions. Established in 1909, it was Wisconsin’s second state park and a key to pioneering efforts to build a state park system that would be the envy of the nation.

Door County’s Emerald Treasure explores the rich history of the park land, from its importance to Native Americans and early European settlers through the twentieth century. Bill Tishler engagingly relates the role of conservationists and progressives in establishing the state park, its growing popularity for tourism and recreation, and efforts to protect the park’s resources from a variety of threats. Tishler also tells a larger story of Americans’ intimate relationship with the land around them and the challenge to create accessible public spaces that preserve the natural environment. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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