A true version of shared history – French, English, Dakota, Ojibwa, Métis, and ultimately, Americans.

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature 2011 Minnesota finalist:

North Country: The Making of Minnesota
Mary Lethert Wingerd
University of Minnesota Press
Category Sponsor: Xcel Energy:

North-country

An excerpt from North Country: The Making of Minnesota:

To conjure the canvas of this world of the north country, try first to imagine forests alive with game, the trees so dense that a man on horseback could find now way through; lakes and rivers, teeming with fish, the primary pathways of travel; and prairies replete with buffalo. In 1650 this was the domain of the Dakotas, the lords of the Upper Mississippi. Here the story begins.

This comprehensive text explains how the land the Dakota named Mini Sota Makoce became the State of Minnesota. The narrative is enhanced by more than 170 illustrations and informative captions.

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Mary Lethert Wingerd is associate professor of history at St. Cloud State University and is the author of Claiming the City: Politics, Faith, and the Power of Place in St. Paul.

Reviews:

“A long overdue book. It illustrates the historic and cultural richness of the land that straddles the source of the Mississippi River and became known as the state of Minnesota. By teaching us the story of this land, Wingerd tells us where we are today, and by opening up this neglected and hidden history of its native people, she helps us to understand the debt and respect that we owe them and points the way for us to make a better future for our children.”  – Jack Weatherford

“Wingerd does a masterful job of making the intricacies of politics accessible, going into detail on how Minnesota became first a territory, then a state, and covering the many twists and turns of the various treaties.”  – Star Tribune

“One of the best regional history texts I’ve read, gracefully written, exhaustively researched and filled with amazing details and images.” – MinnPost

“This is the best Minnesota non-fiction of this year and maybe the last decade” – MN Book Awards preliminary judge

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St. Cloud State University News featured a story about Wingerd and the beautifully appointed book with its 155 illustrations and photos, and 17 maps – many of them reproduced in color, some of them rarely seen in print.

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Watch an interview with the author on Showcase Minnesota, July 2010

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Award winners will be announced at the 23rd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 16, 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. Tickets are $45 and are available by clicking here or calling 651-222-3242.

Have you read North Country? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

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