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American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia

Overview

This first-ever encyclopedia of the Midwest seeks to embrace this large and diverse area, to give it voice, and help define its distinctive character. Organized by topic, it encourages readers to reflect upon the region as a whole. Each section moves from the general to the specific, covering broad themes in longer introductory essays, filling in the details in the shorter entries that follow. There are portraits of each of the region’s twelve states, followed by entries on society and culture, community and ...

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Overview

This first-ever encyclopedia of the Midwest seeks to embrace this large and diverse area, to give it voice, and help define its distinctive character. Organized by topic, it encourages readers to reflect upon the region as a whole. Each section moves from the general to the specific, covering broad themes in longer introductory essays, filling in the details in the shorter entries that follow. There are portraits of each of the region’s twelve states, followed by entries on society and culture, community and social life, economy and technology, and public life. The book offers a wealth of information about the region’s surprising ethnic diversity—a vast array of foods, languages, styles, religions, and customs—plus well-informed essays on the region’s history, culture and values, and conflicts. A site of ideas and innovations, reforms and revivals, and social and physical extremes, the Midwest emerges as a place of great complexity, signal importance, and continual fascination.

Indiana University Press

Finalist - ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year 2007: Reference Category

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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Living - Trevor Meers

"You'll close this new book and start spouting fascinating—and even useful—facts to your friends long before you realize that." —Trevor Meers, Midwest Living

American Reference Books Annual Vol. 39 - Julienne L. Wood

"Best suited for browsing or targeting searches via the excellent index, this essential encyclopedia is suitable for patrons of all public and academic libraries." —Julienne L. Wood, American Reference Books Annual Vol. 39, 2008

Kurt Vonnegut

"What geography can give all Middle Westerners along with the fresh water and topsoil, if they let it, is awe for an Edenic continent stretching forever in all directions. Makes you religious. Takes your breath away." —Kurt Vonnegut

Toni Morrison

"No matter what I write I begin there." —Toni Morrison

From the Publisher
"Best suited for browsing or targeted searches via the excellent index, this essential encyclopedia is suitable for patrons of all public and academic libraries." —Julienne L. Wood, American Reference Books Annual Vol. 39

"Best suited for browsing or targeting searches via the excellent index, this essential encyclopedia is suitable for patrons of all public and academic libraries." —Julienne L. Wood, American Reference Books Annual Vol. 39, 2008

"At 1,800 oversized pages, brimming with hundreds of lively essays on every imaginable Midwestern subject, it's an autodidact's delight, and a great addition to any serious reader's library." —Northern Ohio Live, December 1, 2007

"Spanning 1,890 pages and weighing in at 8 pounds, the encyclopedia is a lot like its subject: big, brawny, hardworking, plainspoken, and yes, far more interesting and outrageous than you ever imagined." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 5, 2007

"Unlike some state and regional encyclopedias, which seem to inundate the reader with facts and figures but never really relay a feel for their subject, this one was clearly created with the aim of endowing the reader with a sense of the American Midwest and its people.... This encyclopedia also gets kudos for one of the most comprehensive sections on labor- and class-related issues that it has been my pleasure to read..." —

"This book is an essential text for all Midwestern libraries.... Middle-American people, landscapes, and culture all stand to benefit from this weighty work of scholarship, as it provides us with a holistic guide for understanding ourselves, our neighbors, our regional landscape, and our place on the national stage." —Ohioana Quarterly, Summer 2007

"The American Midwest was a tremendous undertaking, and the final product is a well-balanced and extremely useful volume for scholars, researchers, and casual readers interested in learning more about all aspects of midwestern geography, history, and culture." —Michigan Historical Review, Spring 2008, Vol. 34, No. 1

"Although the essence of a place can never be definitively captured—even in a work stretching to almost two thousand pages—this ambitious publication productively engages the question." —South Dakota History, Vol. 37, No. 2

"Any way you look at it, The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia is impressive." —Minnesota History

"No matter what I write I begin there." —Toni Morrison

"You'll close this new book and start spouting fascinating—and even useful—facts to your friends long before you realize that." —Trevor Meers, Midwest Living

Choice

"A collection of provocative readings that may inspire further research." —Choice

Choice

"A collection of provocative readings that may inspire further research." —Choice

Midwest Living
"You'll close this new book and start spouting fascinating—and even useful—facts to your friends long before you realize that." —Trevor Meers, Midwest Living

— Trevor Meers

Minnesota History

"Any way you look at it, The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia is impressive." —Minnesota History

American Reference Books Annual Vol. 39
Best suited for browsing or targeting searches via the excellent index, this essential encyclopedia is suitable for patrons of all public and academic libraries.—Julienne L. Wood, American Reference Books Annual Vol. 39, 2008

— Julienne L. Wood

Western Folklore

"Unlike some state and regional encyclopedias, which seem to inundate the reader with facts and figures but never really relay a feel for their subject, this one was clearly created with the aim of endowing the reader with a sense of the American Midwest and its people.... This encyclopedia also gets kudos for one of the most comprehensive sections on labor- and class-related issues that it has been my pleasure to read..." —

Michigan Historical Review

"The American Midwest was a tremendous undertaking, and the final product is a well-balanced and extremely useful volume for scholars, researchers, and casual readers interested in learning more about all aspects of midwestern geography, history, and culture." —Michigan Historical Review, Spring 2008, Vol. 34, No. 1

Indiana Magazine of History

"[A] welcome and instructive volume, which treats the vernacular Midwest... as a coherent and unified region." —Indiana Magazine of History

Ohio History

"This ambitious volume, the culmination of nearly ten years of effort by hundreds of scholars... [presents] a comprehensive and scholarly treatment of its subject while at the same time challenging the reader's expectations of what an encyclopedia should be." —Ohio History, Spring 2008, Vol. 115

Northern Ohio Live

"At 1,800 oversized pages, brimming with hundreds of lively essays on every imaginable Midwestern subject, it's an autodidact's delight, and a great addition to any serious reader's library." —Northern Ohio Live, December 1, 2007

Ohioana Quarterly

"This book is an essential text for all Midwestern libraries.... Middle-American people, landscapes, and culture all stand to benefit from this weighty work of scholarship, as it provides us with a holistic guide for understanding ourselves, our neighbors, our regional landscape, and our place on the national stage." —Ohioana Quarterly, Summer 2007

South Dakota History

"Although the essence of a place can never be definitively captured—even in a work stretching to almost two thousand pages—this ambitious publication productively engages the question." —South Dakota History, Vol. 37, No. 2

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Spanning 1,890 pages and weighing in at 8 pounds, the encyclopedia is a lot like its subject: big, brawny, hardworking, plainspoken, and yes, far more interesting and outrageous than you ever imagined." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 5, 2007

American Reference Books Annual
"Best suited for browsing or targeting searches via the excellent index, this essential encyclopedia is suitable for patrons of all public and academic libraries." —Julienne L. Wood, American Reference Books Annual, 2008

— Julienne L. Wood

Choice
The American Midwest considers 12 states that the editors believe have a particular sense of identity: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin . . . Other essays are affectionate and penetrating portraits of the 12 states as viewed by local experts . . . Summing Up: Recommended. All levels.
—J. Drueke
NUVO
The authors...succeed in both informing and sparking a desire to commence a discussion with the next person who walks through the door.
—Rita Kohn
The Plain Dealer
A sweeping, intellectually robust and unorthodox new work.
—Karen R. Long
Midwest Living
You'll close this new book and start spouting fascinating-and even useful-facts to your friends long before you realize that.
—Trevor Meers
Ohioana Quarterly
Middle-American people, landscapes, and culture all stand to benefit from this weighty work of scholarship, as it provides us with a holistic guide for understanding ourselves, our neighbors, our regional landscape, and our place on the national stage.
American Reference Book Annual 2008 Vol.39
Best suited for browsing or targeted searches via the excellent index, this essential encyclopedia is suitable for patrons of all public and academic libraries.
—Julienne L. Wood
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253348869
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 10/16/2006
  • Series: Midwestern History and Culture Series
  • Pages: 1916
  • Sales rank: 1,051,821
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 2.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Sisson is Provost and Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Ohio State University. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Christian Zacher is Professor of English at Ohio State University and Director of its Institute for Collaborative Research and Public Humanities. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Andrew Cayton is Distinguished Professor of History at Miami University. He lives in Oxford, Ohio.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Landscapes and People
1. Portraits of the Twelve States
2. Images of the Midwest
3. Geography
4. Peoples
III. Society and Culture
5. Language
6. Folklore
7. Literature
8. Arts
9. Cultural Institutions
10. Religion
11. Education
12. Sports and Recreation
13. Media and Entertainment
IV. Community and Social Life
14. Rural Life
15. Small-Town Life
16. Urban and Suburban Life
V. Economy and Technology
17. Labor and Working-Class Culture
18. Transportation
19. Science and Technology, Health and Medicine
VI. Public Life
20. Constitutional and Legal Culture
21. Politics
22. Military Affairs
Index

Indiana University Press

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