Friday, August 3, 2012

Reading Wish List: Hidden History of the Midwest

I look at a lot of history journals, but I rarely read the articles. The book reviews, on the other hand, are tasty treats that call attention to future tasty treats, all having to do with under-reported if not hidden parts of Midwestern history. On my to-read list are (emphases added, quotations from the linked publisher sites):

Jay Gitlin, The Bourgeois Frontier: French Towns, Fur Traders, and American Expansion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009). "The Seven Years War brought an end to the French colonial enterprise in North America, but the French in towns such as New Orleans, St. Louis, and Detroit survived the transition to American rule. French traders from Mid-America such as the Chouteaus and Robidouxs of St. Louis then became agents of change in the West, . . .pursuing alliances within Indian and Mexican communities in advance of American settlement and re-investing fur trade profits in land, town sites, banks, and transportation. The Bourgeois Frontier provides the missing French connection between the urban Midwest and western expansion."

Robert Wooster, The American Military Frontiers: The United States Army in the West, 1783-1900 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2009). "Western military experiences . . . illustrate the dual role played by the United States Army in insuring national security and fostering national development."

Stephen J. Rockwell, Indian Affairs and the Administrative State in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). "The romantic myth of an individualized, pioneering expansion across an open West obscures nationally coordinated administrative and regulatory activity in Indian affairs, land policy, trade policy, infrastructure development, and a host of other issue areas related to expansion."

Stacy M. Robertson, Hearts Beating for Liberty: Women Abolitionists in the Old Northwest (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010). "Female antislavery societies focused on eliminating racist laws, aiding fugitive slaves, and building and sustaining schools for blacks. This approach required that abolitionists of all stripes work together, and women proved especially adept at such cooperation."

J. L. Anderson, Industrializing the Corn Belt: Agriculture, Technology, and Environment, 1945-1972 (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2009). For those who recognize that the 20th century is now history! "The industrialization of agriculture gave rural Americans a lifestyle resembling that of their urban and suburban counterparts. Yet the rural population continued to dwindle as farms required less human labor, and many small farmers, unable or unwilling to compete, chose to sell out." Focused on Iowa, "through the eyes of those who grew the crops, raised the livestock, implemented new technology, and ultimately made the decisions."

Harold Henderson, "Reading Wish List: Hidden History of the Midwest," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 3 August 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

1 comment:

city said...

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