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.

March Book of the Month

The Trans-Mississippi and International Expositions of 1898–1899: Art, Anthropology, and Popular Culture at the Fin de Siècle

By Wendy Katz

Details: History, Culture, Nebraska

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press, 2018 

The Trans-Mississippi Exposition of 1898 celebrated Omaha’s key economic role as a center of industry west of the Mississippi River and its arrival as a progressive metropolis. The exposition also promoted the rise of the United States as an imperial power, at the time on the brink of the Spanish-American War, and the nation’s place in bringing “civilization” to Indigenous populations both overseas and at the conclusion of the recent Plains Indian Wars. The Omaha World’s Fair, however, is one of the least studied American expositions. Wendy Jean Katz brings together leading scholars to better understand the event’s place in the larger history of both Victorian-era America and the American West. With more than 60 photographs and illustrations, Dr. Katz gives readers a clear picture of this often-misunderstood world’s fair and its place in the Victorian-era ascension of the United States as a world power.

“This is an excellent collection that offers insight into the social and cultural history of these Omaha fairs and into the way that popular culture offered a venue for the construction of both U.S. imperial aims and regional identity.”

— Abigail Markwyn, associate professor of history at Carroll University and author of Empress San Francisco: The Pacific Rim, the Great West, and California at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition

The Trans-Mississippi and International Expositions

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)

Barnstorming the Prairie, Jason Weems (September 2017)

Homesteading the PlainsRichard Edwards, Rebecca Wingo, Jacob Friefeld (October 2017)

Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology 1867-2017, Edited by Daniel Simon (November 2017)

This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm, Ted Genoways (December 2017)

Grasses of the Great Plains, By James Stubbendieck, Stephan L. Hatch, Cheryl D. Dunn (January 2018)

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, Ann Weisgarber (February 2018)