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Kansas History - Spring 2009

(Vol. 32, No. 1)

Kansas History, Spring 2009

John Mack. “A Second Revolution: The Struggle to Define the Meaning of the Civil War in Southeast Kansas, 1867–1876.”

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In the 1860s and 1870s, as Union veterans immigrated to southeast Kansas they found themselves embroiled in a legal controversy with railroad officials over land title. The U.S. Supreme Court finally resolved this controversy in 1876 when it ruled in favor of the settlers. In “A Second Revolution,” historian John N. Mack, Labette County Community College, discusses the manner in which these settlers conceived of the battle with the railroads and by which they interpreted the significance of their legal victory. He argues that in fighting the railroads, southeast Kansas settlers saw themselves as responding not just to the personal threat of losing their homes and farms but also to a much larger perceived risk of losing the Republic they had defended with their lives. Consequently, in defining their sense of purpose and confronting the problem of power, they revealed their debt and commitment to the principles of political thought that had inspired their original embrace of the Union cause.

Worth Robert Miller, ed., “The Populist Vision: A Round Table Discussion.”

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Certainly, in terms of quantity and quality, no field of Kansas history is more rich or diverse than Populism, so when a new study appears on the topic it quickly commands attention. The latest entry into the Populist historiographical debate, explains historian Robert Worth Miller in the introduction to this “Round Table Discussion,” is Charles Postel’s new national study, The Populist Vision. “As the winner of both the 2008 Bancroft and 2008 Frederick Jackson Turner Prizes,” Miller notes, “it has been especially welcomed by scholars and the public alike.” The essays that make up this article, save one additional piece by Professor Miller, were originally presented at the Mid-America Conference on History in Springfield, Missouri, in September 2008. They offer new insight of their own that contributes significantly to our understanding of an important and fascinating era in Kansas and American history. Contributors include Gregg Cantrell, Texas Christian University; Rebecca Edwards, Vassar College; Robert C. McMath, Jr., University of Arkansas; William C. Pratt, University of Nebraska at Omaha; and Charles Postel, California State University, Sacramento.

Bob Beatty, ed., “‘Being close to the People’: A Conversation with Former Governor Mike Hayden.”

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Interview audio, video, and transcripts

The fourth piece in our special series of articles based on the gubernatorial interviews captured on video by Washburn University political scientist Bob Beatty, this conversation with former state legislator, Governor, and now Secretary of Wildlife and Parks Mike Hayden, explores issues such as property tax reappraisal, capital punishment, and highway construction. Hayden, a Rawlins County farm boy who served a tour of duty in Vietnam from 1969 until 1970, was first elected to the state legislature while attending graduate school at Fort Hays in 1972, served as speaker of the house from 1983 to 1986, and defeated incumbent Lieutenant Governor Tom Docking to become the state’s forty-first governor in January 1987. Hayden unsuccessfully sought a second term in 1990, losing the general election to State Treasurer Joan Finney. His tenure was marked by considerable controversy, but “Hayden tried to be a ‘public’ governor,” writes Professor Beatty, “holding hundreds of town meetings across the state to talk about his initiatives and policy priorities, and speaking to thousands of Kansas’s schoolchildren about subjects that were close to his heart: the need to protect the state’s environment and how important it was for kids to stay away from drugs and alcohol.”


The Black Citizen-Soldiers of Kansas, 1864-1901
by Roger D. Cunningham
xix + 206 pages, illustrations, notes, appendix, index.
Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2008, cloth $34.95.
Reviewed by Christopher C. Lovett, professor of history, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas.

A Remarkable Curiosity: Dispatches from a New York City Journalist's 1873 Railroad Trip Across the American West
by Amos Jay Cummings, edited and compiled by Jerald T. Milanich
x + 371 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2008, cloth $26.95.
Reviewed by H. Roger Grant, Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of History, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina.

Reading the Old Man: John Brown in American Culture
by Bruce A. Ronda
xxiii + 218 pages, illustrations, notes, index.
Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2008, cloth $39.95.
Reviewed by Craig Miner, Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas.

Rabbit Creek Country: Three Ranching Lives in the Heart of the Mountain West
by Jon Thiem, with Deborah Dimon xxvii + 440 pages, illustrations, map, notes, bibliography, index. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008, cloth $29.95. Reviewed by William E. Unrau, emeritus distinguished professor of history, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas.

Hunting and Trading on the Great Plains, 1859-1875
by James R. Mead
xx + 276 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Wichita, Kans.: Rowfront Press, 2008, paper $17.00.
Reviewed by Kurt E. Kinbacher, instructor, Spokane Falls Community College, Spokane, Washington.

Cherokee Thoughts: Honest and Uncensored
by Robert J. Conley
vii + 200 pages, notes, index.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008, paper $19.95.
Reviewed by Gary L. Cheatham, assistant professor of library services, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Inkpaduta: Dakota Leader
by Paul N. Beck
xx + 188 pages, illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008, cloth $24.95.
Reviewed by R. Eli Paul, museum director, National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Missouri.

Thomas Ewing Jr.: Frontier Lawyer and Civil War General
by Ronald D. Smith
xvi + 377 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2008, cloth $44.95.
Reviewed by Christopher Phillips, professor of history, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.

High Plains Horticulture: A History
by John F. Freeman
xiv + 270 pages, illustrations, map, notes, bibliography, index.
Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2008, cloth $34.95.
Reviewed by Kelly Kindscher, associate scientist, Kansas Biological Survey, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

Bright Epoch: Women and Coeducation in the American West
by Andrea Radke-Moss
xiv + 354 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008, cloth $45.00.
Reviewed by Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, professor of agricultural history and rural studies, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Voices from Haskell: Indian Students between Two Worlds, 1884-1927
by Myriam Vuckovic
xii + 330 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2008, cloth $34.95.
Reviewed by Kim Warren, assistant professor of history, University of Kansas, Lawrence.

Troubled State: Civil War Journals of Franklin Archibald Dick
edited by Gari Carter
xxxii + 279 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Kirksville, Mo.: Truman State University Press, 2008, cloth $34.95.
Reviewed by M. Jane Johansson, associate professor, Rogers State University, Claremore, Oklahoma.

Book Notes

The Grace Abbott Reader. Edited by John Sorensen with Judith Sealander. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008, xxxv + 132 pages, paper $21.95.)

A Nebraska native, Grace Abbott (1878-1939) lived much of her life in Chicago, working as a social reformer on behalf of immigrants, children, and women at organizations such as Hull House and the Immigrants' Protective League. She later spent time in Washington, D.C., where she served as the chief of the U.S. Children's Bureau. This collection of Abbott's speeches and essays, the first of its kind, documents her argument "that to have had a part in the struggle-to have done what one could-is in itself the reward of effort and the comfort in defeat" (p. v).

Kansas Trail Tales: A Collection of Railroad History. By Robert Collins. ([Andover, Kans.]: Create Space, 2009, 129 pages, paper $10.00.)

A prolific writer of Kansas history for many years now, Robert Collins, who has recently published biographies of James H. Lane and James G. Blunt, here offers a collection of articles, most of which have been previously published in magazines such as All Aboard, Territorial Magazine, and Wild West. The pieces cover a variety of railroad topics, from the 1898 Andover train robbery to the short-lived Halstead branch established by the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway (Frisco) in 1882. The book includes a bibliography of sources used in each of the fifteen essays.

Buffalo Soldiers: African American Troops in the US Forces, 1866-1945. By Ron Field and Alexander Bielakowski. (New York: Osprey Publishing, 2008, 232 pages, cloth $25.95.)

Buffalo Soldiers, an attractive, heavily illustrated volume, briefly introduces the reader to the black soldier of the Civil War, including those of the First Kansas Colored Infantry that was "unofficially" organized in the summer of 1862, but it concentrates on the postwar years, beginning with the formation of the first regular African American regiments authorized and raised in 1866 and ending with the first moves to desegregate the armed forces in 1946. The book, which is divided into three parts-"New Frontiers," "Buffalo Soldiers," and "World War II"-concludes with a short essay on integration during the Cold War, and although it contains no source notes, a nice bibliography is included.

Where a Hundred Soldiers Were Killed: The Struggle for the Powder River Country in 1866 and the Making of the Fetterman Myth. By John H. Monnett. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008, xxxiv + 315 pages, cloth $29.95.)

Noted author and professor of Native American history, John H. Monnett, Metropolitan State College, Denver, offers "a new interpretation of events surrounding the Powder River country and Fort Phil Kearny in 1866," particularly with regard to the infamous "Fetterman massacre" of December 21, 1866. The narrative that Professor Monnett so skillfully constructs, drawing on Indian as well as more traditional Anglo-American sources, takes place in northern Wyoming, but it had great impact on the people of Kansas and other plains states in the 1860s. The volume is extensively researched and well illustrated, with photographs and six helpful maps.

Images of Aviation: McConnell Air Force Base. By Steve A. Larsen. (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2008, 128 pages, paper $21.99.)

Arcadia Publishing is well known for its wonderfully illustrated and attractive books of community history, based on the work of fine local scholars. Steve Larsen's Images of Aviation: McConnell Air Force Base tells the story of this vital Wichita base from its World War II beginnings to the present using more than two hundred illustrations, with captions, a concise introduction, and brief essays at the beginning of each of volume's four chapters: "From Modest Beginnings to National Defense: 1920-1962"; "Missiles, Fighters, and Cold War: 1962-1986"; McConnell in Transition: 1986-1994"; and "The Modern Era: 1994-2008."

Medicine Under Canvas: A War Journal of the 77th Evacuation Hospital. Edited by Max S. Allen. (Kansas City, Mo.: The Sosland Press, 2008, xvi + 194 pages, cloth $29.95.)

Originally published by the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1949, Medicine Under Canvas, documents the history of this Kansas City medical unit that saw action in North Africa, Sicily, and Europe during the Second World War. It is "a unique and fascinating look into military medicine, practiced by a unit of doctors, nurses, and enlisted men who came together to provide care in the midst of the century's largest war." The 2008 edition includes an introduction by Dr. W. Kendall McNabney and a roster of the men and women who served in the unit.

The Nature of Kansas Lands. Edited by Beverley Worster, foreword by Donald Worster. (Lawrence, University Press of Kansas, 2008, xiv + 79 pages, cloth $34.95.)

This beautifully illustrated "coffee table" book, which any true Kansan will be proud to own and display, draws on the historical/environmental, literary, and scientific expertise of four outstanding scholars-Donald Worster, Elizabeth Schultz, and Kelly Kindscher, as well as the editor, Beverly Worster-and the exceptional artistic skills of photographers Edward Robinson and Kyle Gerstner. The Nature of Kansas Lands contains dozens of color photographs of the landscape in all seasons and all its subtle diversity and the varied Kansas wildlife, up close and personal.