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"To understand why people say 'Dear old Kansas!" is to understand that Kansas is no mere geographical expression, but a 'state of mind,' a religion, and a philosophy in one," writes historian Carl Becker in the classic 1910 essay that leads off this volume. Like Becker, the twelve other essayists and four poets try to map the spiritual topography of Kansas and explain why this particular patch of prairie is so dear. They share the conviction that Kansas represents something powerful, something significant, something noteworthy.
The seventeen selections are put into perspective by Thomas Fox Averill's headnotes and introductory essay, which makes its own contribution to our understanding of Kansas. The essays and poems (all previously published except for the last essay) are arranged chronologically, from the earliest (1910) to the most recent (1990).
Illustrated with woodcuts from the Prairie Print-makers.
List of illustrations
Introduction: Afflicted by Affection, Thomas Fox Averill
1. Kansas (1910), Carl L. Becker
2. Kansas: A Puritan Survival (1922), William Allen White
3. Kansas, the Essence of Typical
America (1926), W. G. Clugston
4. Sky-Mountain (1927), May Williams Ward
5. Bleeding Kansans (1939), Karl A. Menninger
6. The Cottonwood and the Prairie (1945), Zula Bennington Greene
7. Address to Kansans (1946), Kenneth Wiggins Porter
8. The Strength of Kansas (1949), Milton S. Eisenhower
9. Kansas and the Stream of American Destiny (1954), Allan Nevins
10. One Home (1960), William Stafford
11. A Level Land (1968), William Inge
12. Portrait of a Changing Kansas (excerpt) (1976), Kenneth S. Davis
13. Breathing Kansas (1979), Artful Goodtimes
14. Straight Roads (1982), Peg Wherry
15. Not in Kansas Anymore (1989), Robert Day
16. Touching the Sky (1989), Denise Low