Recently Published Books About the Great Plains

Recently published books on the past, present, and future of the Great Plains.

Natives of a dry place
Natives of a Dry Place: Stories of Dakota Before the Oil Boom

By Richard Edwards

Contrasting values of resoluteness, devotion to community, and modesty with the trials of the modern oil-boom community, author Richard Edwards examines the old town's virtues through the stories of those who built and sustained a community on the dry, open plains in the 20th Century.

South Dakota Historical Society Press, 2015

Climate Change
Climate Change in the Midwest: Impacts, Risks, Vulnerability, and Adaptation

Edited by S.C. Pryor

Focusing on the major vulnerabilities to climate change in the Midwestern United States, the contributors to this volume provide state-of-the-art information regarding the historical, current, and possible future climate within the region, assessing the risks and susceptibility of critical socioeconomic and environmental systems. Key sectors discussed include agriculture, human health, water, energy and infrastructure.

Indiana University Press, 2012

Domestic Subjects
Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature 

By Beth H. Piatote

Following the Indian Wars of the late 19th century, Native Americans were treated as "domestic subjects," with limited legal rights. With their lands, cultures, economies, and kinship structures threatened, Indians sought redress through a range of political, cultural, and artistic avenues and imagined alternative forms of agency and citizenship. In Domestic Subjects, Beth H. Piatote tracks the double movement of literature and law by analyzing the literary works of indigenous writers in the context of U.S. and Canadian laws meant to assimilate Indian lands, political identities, economies, and family structures.     

Yale University Press, 2013

Texas State Parks
Texas State Parks and the CCC: The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps 

By Cynthia Brandimarte with Angela Reed. Foreword by Carter Smith 

From West Texas to the Louisiana border, the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) left an indelible stamp on Texas’s state parks. Between 1933 and 1942, nearly 50,000 men constructed trails, cabins, and concession buildings in parks throughout the state, helping to create a network of forty-eight parks covering almost 60,000 acres. In Texas State Parks and the CCC, Cynthia Brandimarte of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has compiled a rich visual profile of twenty-nine of these parks, providing a descriptive history of each. 

Texas A&M University Press, 2013

George Littlechild
George Littlechild: The Spirit Giggles Within 

By George Littlechild, foreword by Ryan Rice

This retrospective covers nearly four decades of work by George Littlechild, a Plains Cree artist born in Alberta. Many of Littlechild’s works are inspired by the Cree concept of
Wahkomkanak, which means “our ancestors.” In the artist’s own words, he is “committed to righting the wrongs that First Nations peoples have endured by creating art that focuses on cultural, social, and political injustices. It is my job to show the pride, strength and beauty of First Nations people and cultures, and contribute to the betterment of mankind.” Each of the more than 150 pieces includes a short reflection by the artist. 

Heritage House, 2012

Contours of a People
Contours of a People: Metis Family, Mobility, and History 

Edited by Nicole St-Onge, Carolyn Podruchny, and Brenda Macdougall, foreword by Maria Campbell

The Metis, northwestern North American people of mixed European and Native ancestry, first emerged as a distinct culture in the seventeenth century, evolving in connection with the fur trade and other commercial endeavors. In Contours of a People, Canadian and American scholars investigate what it has meant to be Metis in 15 essays that offer new ways of thinking about how family, community, and geography have shaped Metis culture and society up to the present day, from the beginnings of the Metis in the Great Lakes region to Metis rights under Canadian law.  

University of Oklahoma Press, 2012

Called to Justice

Called to Justice: The Life of a Federal Trial Judge 

By Warren K. Urbom, foreword by William J. Riley

Warren K. Urbom has served as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska since 1970. Called to Justice recounts his experience of the criminal trials arising from the 71-day armed standoff between the American Indian Movement (AIM) and federal law enforcement officials at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, as well as other stories in this insider’s account of what it means to be a federal judge.   
University of Nebraska Press, 2012

Free Radical
Free Radical: Ernest Chambers, Black Power, and the Politics of Race

By Tekla Agbala Ali Johnson. Foreword by Quintard Taylor

In a career spanning four decades, Ernest "Ernie" Chambers has worked tirelessly as a self-styled "defender of the downtrodden," serving in the Nebraska State Legislature as a nationally recognized Black activist. In Free Radical, Ali Johnson situates Chambers' remarkable career within the larger Civil Rights and Black Power movements, as well as his own working-class constituency in North Omaha.  

Publisher: Texas Tech University Press, 2012

Defying Palliser

Defying Palliser: Stories of Resilience from the Driest Region of the Canadian Prairies

By Jim Warren and Harry Diaz

In 1857-58, British explorer John Palliser travelled through the Canadian prairies and proclaimed a large portion of the region to be a near desert and unsuited for agriculture, leading the area to become known as "Palliser's Triangle." Defying Palliser includes interviews with farmers and ranchers in southwestern Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta who defied Palliser’s predictions and managed to adapt to the driest, most drought-prone climate on the Canadian prairies.

University of Regina Press, 2012

Living with American Indian Art
Living with American Indian Art: The Hirschfield Collection 

By Alan J. Hirschfield, with Terry Winchell. Photographs by W. Garth Dowling. Foreword by Gaylord Torrence

This volume documents the stunning private collection of Alan J. Hirschfield, former President and CEO of Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox Film. Photographs of over 160 works are included here, many of which have never been published or placed on public display, including Navajo textiles, Pueblo pottery, and Apache basketry, along with chapter introductions by noted Native American art dealer Terry Winchell. 

Publisher: Gibbs Smith, 2012

The Essential West
The Essential West:  Collected Essays 

By Elliott West. Foreword by Richard White

Ranging over the past three centuries, these essays by one of the most distinguished historians of the American West include such diverse topics as Lewis and Clark, children and family life, the cultural significance of the buffalo, and the meaning of Lonesome Dove

University of Oklahoma Press, 2012

The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied
The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied, Vol. 3: September 1833-August 1834 

Edited by Stephen S. Witte and Marsha V. Gallagher, foreword by Jack F. Becker, translated by Dieter Karch

The third and final volume of The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied, co-edited by Center Fellow Stephen S. Witte, contains descriptions of the Mandan and Hidatsa Indians recorded during Maximilian’s stay at Fort Clark and on his return journey eastward across the United States in 1833-34, as well as nearly 100 illustrations, including seven in color.   

University of Oklahoma Press, 2012