Great Plains Book of the Month

Each month the Center for Great Plains Studies features one book as its "Great Plains Book of the Month." We carefully choose books that are accessible and on topics of interest and importance for our region. They may be on any subject, of any genre, published within the last couple of years; occasionally we may feature a book published by or written at the Center. Mainly we want to bring attention to what we consider exceptional works both to learn from and enjoy.


September Book of the Month

Barnstorming the Prairies: How Aerial Vision Shaped the Midwest

By Jason Weems

Details: Arts & Photography; United States; Midwest

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press, 2015 

Barnstorming the Prairies offers a panoramic vista of the transformative nature and power of the aerial vision that remade the Midwest in the wake of the airplane. This new perspective from above enabled Americans to conceptualize the region as something other than isolated and unchanging, and to see it instead as a dynamic space where people worked to harmonize the core traditions of America's agrarian character with the more abstract forms of twentieth-century modernity. In the maps and aerial survey photography of the Midwest, as well as the painting, cinema, animation, and suburban landscapes that arose through flight.

"His specialty in art history, along with a deep understanding of geography, architecture, and planning, provides a well-rounded and thoughtful treatment of the topic that is truly multidisciplinary and relevant to any student or resident of the Great Plains."

— Matt Dooley, Great Plains Quarterly

Read the review in Great Plains Quarterly

Barnstorming the Prairies

Past Great Plains Books of the Month:

American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains, Dan Flores (Jan. 2017)

A Chorus of Cranes: The Cranes of North America and the World, Paul Johnsgard (Feb. 2017)

Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930, Karen Hansen (March 2017)

Wild Again: The Struggle to Save the Black-Footed Ferret, David Jachowski (April 2017)

A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America's First Indian Doctor, Joe Starita (May 2017)

Natives of a Dry Place: Stories of Dakota Before the Oil Boom, Richard Edwards (June 2017)

Towards a Prairie Atonement, Trevor Herriot (July 2017)

Walking the Llano, Shelley Armitage (August 2017)