Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review of "Moments in Iowa History," by Jean Florman

Review of
Moments in Iowa History, by Jean Florman 

Five out of five stars
 While the appeal of this book will largely be confined to Iowans past and current, there are many interesting historical tidbits that all people with a soft spot for history will find entertaining. The book consists of a set of short historical vignettes about events that took place in the state of Iowa. The timeline begins with the earliest inhabitants, but there is little coverage of that timeframe, the real history begins with the arrival of the first European explorers.
 The opening of the territory that eventually became Iowa was one of sacrifice, struggle and the eventual alteration of the landscape to the modern complex of urban areas and mechanized farms. Like many other regions, the Native Americans were almost completely expelled, there is only one Native American reservation, the Meskwaki Nation, that is only 8,000 acres and has approximately 1,400 members.
 These events that generally took place in the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century are at times deeply significant in the historical sense and at other times little more than a historical oddity. Many different ethnic and religious groups had a part in making Iowa the state it became. Everything from a band of aristocratic British to the Mormons trekking across Iowa to groups of Bohemians and Scandinavians that established enclaves in many communities. From the Czech village in Cedar Rapids to the Norwegians in Decorah, their footprints are still obvious to any visitor.
 Developed for broadcast over the University of Northern Iowa public radio station KUNI, this book is amusing and a look back at some of the pillars that went into the development of the modern state of Iowa.

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