32 Books in 32 Days – Day 27: Minneapolis in the Twentieth Century

Each day leading up to the April 17 announcement of the 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature


Minnesota Finalist,
Minneapolis in the Twentieth Century: The Growth of an American City
Iric Nathanson

An excerpt from Minneapolis in the Twentieth Century: The Growth of an American City:

Minneapolis, like all of America, faces an uncertain economic future as the first decade of the twenty-first century draws to a close. Over the course of the preceding century, Minnesota’s major city was able to shed a stultifying social order that inhibited change and entrenched privilege. A new vitality and receptivity to diversity helped lay the groundwork for a powerful economic system propelled by innovation and creativity rather than by capital and industrial muscle. Combined with its natural, cultural, and intellectual amenities, this sense of vitality-this impetus toward reinvention-will help Minneapolis preserve the urban renaissance it achieved by the end of the last century, even as it faces the new limits and particular challenges of the new one.

This book illuminates how Minneapolis came to be the city it is today by highlighting noteworthy characters, plotlines, and scenes. Events that allowed the city to shine, as well as darker stories such as police and city hall corruption at the turn of the last century, brutal suppression of Depression-era unions, and reports on anti-Semitism at midcentury are relayed.


Iric Nathanson has written and lectured about local history for more than two decades. An instructor for the University of Minnesota’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, he has published essays in the Star Tribune, Minnesota History, and Hennepin History.


“This is a compelling, honest story told by one of Minneapolis’s keenest observers” – Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak

“Ranging over fascinating topics from crime and criminality to urban reform and from anti-Semitism to labor liberation, Iric Nathanson keeps us informed and entertained. For the first time, such topics as the rediscovery of the riverfront and the struggle for mass transit are treated in a serious historical account of the Mill City.” – Hyman Berman, professor emeritus of history, University of Minnesota

“Iric Nathanson has produced a fascinating, deeply researched history that reads like a novel. A story with myriad characters-crooks, community activities, politicians, and bureaucrats- it shows how a small, corrupt city became an honest, progressive urban center.” – Arvonne Fraser, author of She’s No Lady: Politics, family, and International Feminism 

Read more about this book on the MHS’s 10,000 Books blog

Check it Out! at the Saint Paul Public Library

Award winners will be announced at the 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 17, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. A limited number of tickets ($40) are available by clicking here or calling 651-222-3242.

Have you read Minneapolis in the Twentieth Century? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: