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Long Hard Road

American POWs During World War II

Thomas Saylor

Between 1941 and 1945 more than 110,000 American marines, soldiers, airmen, and sailors were taken prisoner by German, Italian, and Japanese forces. Most who fought overseas during World War II weren’t prepared for capture, or for the life-altering experiences of incarceration, torture, and camaraderie bred of hardship that followed. Their harrowing story—often overlooked in Greatest Generation narratives—is told here by the POWs themselves. Long hours of inactivity followed by moments of sheer terror. Slave labor, death marches, the infamous hell ships. Historian Thomas Saylor pieces together the stories of nearly one hundred World War II POWs to explore what it was like to be the “guest” of the Axis Powers and to reveal how these men managed to survive. Gunner Bob Michelsen bailed out of his wounded B-29 near Tokyo, only to endure days of interrogation and beatings and months as a “special prisoner” in a tiny cell home to seventeen other Americans. Medic Richard Ritchie spent long moments of terror locked with dozens of others in an unmarked boxcar that was repeatedly strafed by Allied forces. In the closing chapter to this moving narrative, the men speak of their difficult transition to life back home, where many sought—not always successfully—to put their experience behind them.

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Lyncher In Me

A Search for Redemption in the Face of History

Warren Read

In June 1920, in Duluth, Minnesota, a mob of over 10,000 convened upon the police station, inflamed by the rumor that black circus workers had raped a white teenage girl—charges that would later be proven false. Three men were dragged from their cells and lynched in front of the cheering crowd. More than eighty years later, Warren Read—a fourth-grade teacher, devoted partner, and father to three boys—plugged his mother’s maiden name into a computer search engine, then clicked on a link to a newspaper article that would forever alter his understanding of himself. Louis Dondino, his beloved great-grandfather, had incited the deadly riot on that dark summer night decades before. In his poignant memoir, Read explores the perspectives of both the victims and the perpetrators of this heinous crime. He investigates the impact—the denial and anger—that the long-held secrets had on his family. Through this examination of the generations affected by one horrific night, he discovers we must each take responsibility for “our deep-seated fears that lead us to emotional, social, or physical violence.”

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Lynchings In Duluth

Michael Fedo

On the evening of June 15, 1920, in Duluth, Minnesota, three young black men, accused of the rape of a white woman, were pulled from their jail cells and lynched by a mob numbering in the thousands. Up to a tenth of the city's residents clogged the street in front of the police station to witness the hanging. Reporters from the two major newspapers of Minneapolis and St. Paul shocked their readers with lurid accounts of the event. Leading newspapers throughout the North vilified Duluthians for having stained their city's good name and castigated them for being no better than southern racists. The governor of Minnesota, J. A. A. Burnquist, then president of the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP, commissioned his adjutant general to launch a formal investigation. Three dozen men were indicted for taking part in the mob action. And one year later, in reaction to the event, the state legislature enacted an anti-lynching law. Yet, today, the incident is nearly forgotten. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the lynching of blacks was typically a rural, southern phenomenon. This account of the lynchings that took place in Duluth shows that the mentality necessary for such events was not particular to any region. Praise for The Lynchings in Duluth: "A chilling reconstruction of a 1920 racial tragedy. . . . Combining hour-by-hour, day-by-day narrative with expert scholarship based on interviews, suppressed documents and news reports, Fedo skillfully portrays Northern prejudice and violence. Without preaching or condemning, he makes readers firsthand witnesses to fear and injustice.”—Los Angeles Times "This tense book punches out a story of devastating fury. . . . Fedo has put his sharpest reportorial skills to work in resurrecting a little known racial atrocity. . . . As pointed as a Klansman's cap, this book conveys the horror of mob action--and the disturbing truth that it knows no region.”—Milwaukee Journal "The story of the events leading up to the lynching and the various stages in the action of the mob are vividly related in this superb work. Fedo presents in masterful prose--based on excellent research--a difinitive account of the Duluth lynchings. His graphic description of the mob and the context in which it operated provides evidence of the manner in which given the proper set of circumstances mass violence can occur anywhere and anytime.”—The Ann Arbor News

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Lynchings in Duluth

Second Edition

by Michael Fedo with a foreword by William Green

On the evening of June 15, 1920, in Duluth, Minnesota, three young black men, accused of the rape of a white woman, were pulled from their jail cells and lynched by a mob numbering in the thousands. Yet for years the incident was nearly forgotten. This updated, second edition of The Lynchings in Duluth includes a new preface by the author, additional research and notes, and suggestions for further reading. “This account of racial violence in the early twentieth century is a genuinely startling and illuminating contribution to our understanding of racial justice in the United States in the twenty-first. Many Americans have found it convenient to think that episodes like this come only from the Jim Crow–era Deep South. The Lynchings in Duluth is a powerful reminder of the broader American pattern.” James Fallows, The Atlantic “A chilling reconstruction of a 1920 racial tragedy. . . . Combining hour-by-hour, day-by-day narrative with expert scholarship based on interviews, suppressed documents and news reports, Fedo skillfully portrays Northern prejudice and violence.” Los Angeles Times “This tense book punches out a story of devastating fury. . . . As pointed as a Klansman’s cap, this book conveys the horror of mob action—and the disturbing truth that it knows no region.” Milwaukee Journal

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Making Marriage

Husbands, Wives, and the American State in Dakota and Ojibwe Country

The debate over the meaning of marriage in the United States and specifically in Minnesota is not a recent development. From 1820 to 1845, when the first significant numbers of Americans arrived in the region now called Minnesota, they carried the belief that good government and an orderly household went hand in hand. The territorial, state, and federal governments of the United States were built upon a particular vision of civic responsibility: that men, as heads of households, enter civic life on behalf of their dependents—wives, children, servants, and slaves. These dependents were deemed unfit to make personal decisions or to involve themselves in business and government—and they owed labor and obedience to their husbands, fathers, and masters. These ideas clashed forcibly with the conceptions of kinship and social order that existed among the Upper Midwest's long-established Dakota, Ojibwe, and mixed-heritage communities. In resisting the new gender and familial roles advocated by military personnel, Indian agents, and missionaries, the region’s inhabitants frustrated American attempts to transform Indian country into a state. Indeed, many Americans were forced to compromise their own beliefs so that they could put down roots. Through the stories of married—and divorcing—men and women in the region, Catherine J. Denial traces the uneven fortunes of American expansion in the early nineteenth century and the nation-shaping power of marital acts.

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Minneapolis in the Twentieth Century

The Growth of an American City

Iric Nathanson

Today, Minneapolis is considered one of the most desirable places to live in the United States. However, like most cities, Minneapolis has its own checkered history. Iric Nathanson shines a light in dark corners of the city's past, exploring corruption that existed between the police department and city hall, brutal suppression of Depression-era unions, and reports on anti-Semitism at midcentury. Still other subjects that on the surface seem disparaging offer the city's residents as opportunity to shine. Community leaders make a difference during the "long hot summer" of 1967, when racial violence exploded across the country. Concerned neighbors guide transportation policy from more and bigger highways to forward-looking light rail transit. A forgotten riverfront is transformed into a magnet for people wishing to live and play at the site of the city's earliest successes. Nathanson skillfully tells these stories and more, always with an eye toward how noteworthy characters, plotlines, and scenes helped create the Minneapolis we know today.

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Minnesota in the '70s

The 1970s were more than big hair, mirror balls, and leisure suits. These were the years that bridged the chasm between the anti-establishment tumult of the 1960s and the morning-in-America conservatism of the 1980s. In Minnesota, this evolution unfolded in ways that defied expectations. No longer was Minnesota merely a vague, snow-covered outpost in the American consciousness. It was a place of note and consequence—a state of presidential candidates, grassroots activism, civic engagement, environmental awareness, and Mary Tyler Moore. Its governor appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Its city skylines shot up with uncharacteristic immodesty. Its farmers enjoyed some of their best years ever. Minnesota forged an identity during the 1970s that would persist, rightly or wrongly, for decades to come. This book tells the stories of people, places, and events that defined the state: colorful individuals, including Allan Spear, Arlene Lehto, Wendell Anderson, and Herb Brooks; significant groups like the Willmar 8, American Indian Movement, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, and Save the Met; and news-making events, including the first Earth Day, the Dayton’s bombing, school desegregation battles, and highway construction protests. Richly illustrated with evocative photos, cartoons, and ephemera, this book helps bring the 1970s back to life.

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Minnesota Weather Almanac

Second Edition, Completely Updated for the New Normals

Author

From the dog days of summer to “cold enough for you?” winter mornings, Minnesotans love to talk about the weather. Hot and humid or frigid and icy, the weather affects our choice of clothing, our outdoor activities, our daily routines. Minnesota Weather Almanac measures Minnesota’s human history in terms of high temperatures, significant rainfall, and devastating blizzards. Organized by season, this fun and invaluable handbook showcases an astonishing variety of data and lore on weather systems past. Narratives on the character of our seasons and holidays, stories of climate stations around the state from the oldest to the coldest, and biographies of passionate weather people are accompanied by quick quizzes and colorful weather jargon. And no almanac would be complete without tables and maps illustrating such crucial details as statewide snowfall totals and extreme temperatures. This fully revised edition takes into account the state’s new thirty- year normals (1981–2010), updating records for cold, heat, and precipitation. And in a chapter on climate change and Minnesota’s future, Mark Seeley draws on decades of observations to show trends and consequences of our changing climate— and highlights ways for us to adapt and to continue to steward the state’s treasured resources.

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Mni Sota Makoce

The Land of the Dakota

by Gwen Westerman and Bruce White, with a foreword by Glenn Wasicuna

Much of the focus on the Dakota people in Minnesota rests on the tragic events of the 1862 U.S.–Dakota War and the resulting exile that sent the majority of the Dakota to prisons and reservations beyond the state’s boundaries. But the true depth of the devastation of removal cannot be understood without a closer examination of the history of the Dakota people and their deep cultural connection to the land that is Minnesota. Drawing on oral history interviews, archival work, and painstaking comparisons of Dakota, French, and English sources, Mni Sota Makoce tells the detailed history of the Dakota people in their traditional homelands for at least hundreds of years prior to exile. “Minnesota” is derived from the Dakota phrase Mni Sota Makoce, Land Where the Waters Reflect the Clouds—and the people’s roots here remain strong. Authors Gwen Westerman and Bruce White examine narratives of the people’s origins, their associations with the land, and the seasonal round through key players and place names. They consider Dakota interactions with Europeans and offer an in-depth “reading between the lines” of historical documents—some of them virtually unknown—and treaties made with the United States, uncovering misunderstandings and outright deceptions that helped lead to war in 1862. Dakota history did not begin with the U.S.– Dakota War of 1862—nor did it end there. Mni Sota Makoce is, more than anything, a celebration of the Dakota people through their undisputed connection to this place, Minnesota, in the past, present, and future.

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My Grandfather's Knocking Sticks

Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation, 1900-1940

When Ojibwe historian Brenda Child uncovered the Bureau of Indian Affairs file on her grandparents, it was an eye-opening experience. The correspondence, full of incendiary comments on their morals and character, demonstrated the breathtakingly intrusive power of federal agents in the early twentieth century. While telling her own family’s stories from the Red Lake Reservation, as well as stories of Ojibwe people around the Great Lakes, Child examines the disruptions and the continuities in daily work, family life, and culture faced by Ojibwe people of Child’s grandparents’ generation—a generation raised with traditional lifeways in that remote area. The challenges were great: there were few opportunities for work. Government employees and programs controlled reservation economies and opposed traditional practices. Nevertheless, Ojibwe men and women—fully modern workers who carried with them rich traditions of culture and work—patched together sources of income and took on new roles as labor demands changed through World War I and the Depression. Child writes of men knocking rice at wild rice camps, work customarily done by women; a woman who turns to fishing and bootlegging when her husband is unable to work; and women who carry out traditional healing ceremonies. All of them, faced with dispossession and pressure to adopt new ways, managed to retain and pass on their Ojibwe identity and culture to their children.

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