Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — The Story Of Black Motherhood And How It Shaped America

On Friday, federal government employees had the day off to commemorate Juneteenth, a new federal holiday formally created the day before — some 156 years after it was first celebrated by newly emancipated Black people in Galveston, Texas. Millions of White Americans became aware of Juneteenth for the first time this past year only after the racial-justice protests that followed the death of George …


Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — FUTURE IN CONTEXT America’s New Gilded Age: The Cycles Of Constitutional Time

In “The Cycles of Constitutional Time,” Jack Balkin takes an overarching look at the dynamics of constitutional government over the history of the United States. To understand what is happening today, he argues, “we have to think in terms of political cycles that interact with each other and create remarkable — and dark — times.” Single-term presidents, Balkin notes, often …


CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Breaking Ice: What Happens When A Branch Of The Armed Forces Opens To Women

Long before Admiral Sandy Stosz retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2018, she knew that she wanted to write a book on leadership. With nearly 40 years of experience to draw on, from her early days as an ensign on polar icebreakers to her final assignment as the first female to serve as deputy commandant for Mission Support, Stosz had gained …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — The Revolutionary Lives Of Malcolm X And MLK In The Time of George Floyd

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X rose from markedly different backgrounds to assume leading roles in the civil rights movement, and though each died violently while playing his respective part, neither man fully exited the stage. Both remain to this day celebrated figures in the fight for racial and economic justice. Their much-publicized differences, most notably violence versus nonviolence, have …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Grab A Dictionary, Save The Republic

Distressed at the dearth of civic understanding in the United States, Ed Hagenstein worked for over two decades to create “The Language of Liberty: A Citizen’s Vocabulary.” Its purpose is simple: The constitution demands consensus and our form of government requires discourse, which depends in turn on a precise and nuanced vocabulary of its own. Hagenstein has set out to …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Solastalgia: The Drought Of 2021 In North Dakota

Here in North Dakota in the spring of 2021, the headlines about the pandemic are being pushed aside by the daily news of the extreme drought and prairie fires. All of us search the forecast in hopes of rain, knowing the damage this is causing to the people, the critters and the landscape we love. All of us search for …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — North Dakota’s Gold Rush: A Memoir About The Fracking Boom

Michael Patrick F. Smith would not seem to fit the profile of an oil field worker. He’s an actor, a musician and a playwright who sublet his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment to head out west to Williston, N.D., during the height of the Bakken Oil Boom in 2013. As he admits, “It’s a weird resume for a man applying to work …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — From Wounded Knee To Pipeline Access, The Lakota’s Enduring Power

Most histories of the “Indian Wars” in the American West end with the Wounded Knee Massacre on Dec. 29, 1890, when U.S. troops of the Seventh Cavalry killed between 200 and 300 Lakota (Sioux) people, the majority of them women and children, most of whom had been disarmed, at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, just one year into its …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Nicholas Christakis And Understanding Our Year With COVID-19

Nicholas Christakis’ “Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live“ is an outstanding book. I agree with the eminent historian of ideas Niall Ferguson, who called it “magisterial” in his review in the Times Literary Supplement. I could not recommend it more highly. It’s not only the most readable of the books published on …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Living Through The Pandemic: A Review One Year Later

A year into the modern pandemic era, it seems reasonable to ask, what have we learned? And what should we have learned? I found answers to those questions in a wide-ranging interview with Nicholas Christakis, the author of “Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live.” Christakis is the Sterling Professor of Social and …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Separating The Wheat From The Chaff

The faux rage about “canceling” Dr. Seuss because the corporation that preserves his legacy removed a small handful of his countless books because of content that clearly is not appropriate and is hurtful in 2021 is so off point. Much of what Theodor Geisel wrote was lovely or fun. That is not going anywhere. It is the process of separating …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Donald Trump Has Earned Membership In The President’s Club, The World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity; What Does It Mean?

For only the third time in history, there are a record six living presidents in the United States, including the current White House occupant Joseph R. Biden Jr., along with Barack Obama, who he served as vice president. The list also includes George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and now Donald J. Trump. All went into the White House …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — The Bill Of Rights, Federalism And The Struggles Of A United America

David French is a senior editor of The Dispatch, a conservative online political magazine. A graduate of Harvard Law School, an Iraq War veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star, French’s most recent book, “Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation,” was reviewed by Governing in October. In the book, French warns how hardening ideological …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — My Last Conversation With Fred Rogers (Nine Days after Sept. 11, 2001)

From Chapter 16 of the Tim’s book, “I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers“: When Fred was a boy in Latrobe, Pa., his mother taught him how to look for hope during the darkest times. “In times of tragedy, look for the helpers,” Nancy McFeely Rogers would often tell her son. “They’re always there. Perhaps on the sidelines, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House: A Bird-y Essay At The Height Of Tomato Harvest

At Red Oak House we are birders. And foodies. And frugal. On Monday at dawn I heard a bird strike a window just as I was stepping out to the patio to sip coffee and quietly read the morning newspaper. The signs of autumn migration are all around and we have a small birdbath that is critical water for the …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — How Cancer Led to Reconciliation Between Fred Claire And Tommy Lasorda: An Excerpt From ‘Extra Innings’

In 1988, as general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Fred Claire was the architect of the team’s last World Series championship. Nearly three decades later, in the winter of 2017, cancer that had begun as speck on Fred’s lip had returned with a vengeance. The prognosis had been poor from the time his melanoma had spread to his jaw …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — The Day Kirk Gibson Challenged His Dodger Teammates To Fight: An Excerpt From Extra Innings

July 7 is the official publication date of my new book, “Extra Innings.” I love the story of Fred’s Claire’s inspiring fight against cancer at City of Hope National Medical Center in California, one of the world’s finest medical institutions. But as general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Fred was also the architect of the team’s last World Series championship …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — My Coming Book: On Medicine’s Finest, And Another Remarkable Guy Named Fred

I met Fred Claire about this time last year on my first visit to City of Hope National Medical Center near Los Angeles. Fred, his wife, Sheryl, and I talked for two hours that first day, sitting in the shade outside a research building on the sprawling campus. Fred never let on then that he was in terrible pain from …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — A Prayer For Black History Month

In the year 2000, as part of my research for a book on the Tulsa, Okla., race massacre of 1921, I interviewed an elderly man named Richard Gary, who told me this story. On a day in early June 1921, his father, a white Tulsa resident named Hugh Gary, loaded his young sons, Richard and Hubert, into the family Dodge …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — On Art, Architecture And, Of Course, People

Here is an excerpt from my latest book, “Of the First Class: A History of the Kimbell Art Museum.” Chapter 1 Sacred Ground On a muggy summer Saturday in 2014, 8,000 people converged on the heart of Fort Worth’s cultural district: the “Great Lawn” of the Kimbell Art Museum. The crowd was double what organizers of that day’s festival had …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Momaday, Falling Stars And Two Extraordinary Nights in November

This is a significantly revised version of my original blog posted on Wednesday with the addition of details I’ve located since that date as well as updates on the Thursday’s Unicorn showers. Although the annual Leonids meteor showers have come and gone, the news about a potential “rich burst” of shooting stars from the Unicorn meteor showers has me thinking back …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Era Bell Thompson

Dorette and I are spending some time in Grand Forks. The weather is touch and go this time of year, so I brought along some reading material. One of the books is Liesl Olson’s “Chicago Renaissance: Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis.” Of most interest to me is her account of the black writer, Era Bell Thompson, 1905-1986, who had …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — ‘Robinson Crusoe’

Over the past few days, I have had the wonderful guilty pleasure of sitting down to read “Robinson Crusoe” cover to cover. I know I should have been doing other things, some of them pressing, but I just sat there and read this famous and fabulous account of a man who is shipwrecked on a small island off Venezuela and …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — Farewell To Edmund Morris

I want to take a moment to lament the passing of one of the finest scholar-biographers of our time Edmund Morris. The great biographer of Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt died May 24. He was 78 years old. Morris was born in Kenya on May 27, 1940, to South African parents. He moved to Britain in 1964. Without a college …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — ‘The Paris Husband’

As my friends know, I recently finished my annual rereading of Proust’s 4,300 page novel “In Search Of Lost Time.” Hemingway is my second most liked dead writer. On my night stand is a new history “The Paris Husband: How It Really Was Between Ernest & Hadley Hemingway.” Don’t confuse this book with another, “The Paris Wife,” a fictionalized account …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Where The Wild Things Are

On April 9 in 1963, a classic of children’s literature, Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” was published. It is what is known as a picture book and has been beloved by generations since then. Max, a little boy, travels in his imagination (or sleep) to an island inhabited by wild creatures. “Let the wild rumpus start,” he says! …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — What I Wish I Knew

My friend, Nancy Palmer O’Malley, has written a lovely and quietly provocative book, which she intends as a gift to relatives and a small number of friends. But when she shared it with me a few weeks ago, I sense immediately that her wisdom and yearning would resonate with a much larger audience. “My family never wanted to discuss delicate …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — Essential Reading In The National Crisis

Hello, everyone. I’m urging you to do me the following favor. Get a copy of Robert Kagan’s recent book, “The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World,” and read it over the next few weeks. It’s a short book. It’s a brilliant book. It’s an exceedingly important book. And it explains a lot of things that may seem puzzling …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — A Very Dickens Christmas

This was written just before Christmas. Happy holidays, everyone, from all of us at the Thomas Jefferson Hour. I’m going to be alone this Christmas for the first time in 20 years — so do feel free to send presents — cognac, figs, books, music, frankincense and myrrh, whatever they are. Don’t cry for me Argentina. I have plans. I …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — ‘The Paris Husband’

I first heard of the author Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, when I was a freshman at the University of North Dakota. He had committed suicide in July, two months before I arrived on campus It was perhaps for that reason that my ”Intro to Fiction” professor chose to begin his course that fall with Hemingway’s short story “A Clean Well-lighted Place,” …

CLAY JENKINSON: Water and the West – Lochsa Lodge

As I prepare for the great “Water and the West” humanities retreat at Lochsa Lodge west of Missoula, Mon.t, in mid-January, I’m rereading Marc Reisner’s water classic, “Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water.” Here’s the first paragraph of Chapter Three: First Causes: “When archaeologists from some other planet sift through the bleached bones of our civilization, they …

CLAY JENKINSON: Clay’s Notebook — The Joy Of Reading In A Distracted Time

I’ve been writing a long essay called the “Joy of Reading in a Distracted World.” I don’t know why I started down this path, exactly. I have long lists of books I want to write. All I need is more time, more energy, some clarity in my thinking and a Muse. Jefferson was a great reader, especially when he was …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Marcel Proust On Reading

A while ago the 0resident of the United States unleashed a middle-of-the-night Tweet storm attacking the company Amazon, claiming it was getting favorable treatment from the U.S. Postal Service. As is so often the case, he was mistaken (or fibbing for effect). Most of my online shopping is with Amazon. Here’s a recent example. Back in June in Paris, I …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — My Favorite Cemetery

Accompanied by Dorette’s son-in-law, Paul Kuhns, I’m heading to Paris next week to attend the International Hemingway Conference. I also expect to visit again the most famous graveyard in the world, the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, established by Napoleon in 1804. The cemetery is huge ― 110 acres ― with more than 1 million individuals buried there. Most were ordinary folks. …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Book Sale

Difficult as it may be to believe, Red Oak House is holding a book sale June 2, starting at 9 a.m. A couple of winters back, I cataloged our collection and culled about 200 books, mostly duplicates as well as books we’ve read that don’t fit in the scope of our permanent collection. For a while, I toyed with the …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Little Crow

One of my favorite places is the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Dorette and I are frequent visitors. She’s out of town, so I drove to the MIA on Saturday and wandered around for a couple of hours. It’s truly a world class institution. Photography is allowed, not the case in many museums. Among the works of art I’m most drawn …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — On Reading

Reading has been important to me since I was a first-grader at Fram Township School No. 3 in Wellsburg, N.D. My teacher, Sylpha Hovland, inspired me. I still have my “report card” from that year long ago — the marks were great for reading, not so hot for “deportment.” Here are the first lines of 10 of my favorite novels. …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Sinking Of The Indianapolis

I can’t resist a used bookstore. On Saturday, I picked up a volume that tells the story of the cruiser U.S.S. Indiana, sunk by the Japanese in World War II after delivering the atomic bomb that would end the conflict. The book, “In Harm’s Way,” reminded me of the description of the disaster that the character “Quint” (Robert Shaw) provided …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — A War Story

Friends know I enjoy used bookstores. There are many within easy driving distance of our place in Bloomington, Minn. I recently purchased the above book for $1.50 at a Salvation Army resale outlet near the place that sells me Starbucks Italian Bold coffee. “What Did You Do In the War, Daddy?” was self-published by Gordon C. Krantz, who like Dorette …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘Operation Snowbound’

“Operation Snowbound: Life Behind the Blizzards of 1949,” by David W. Mills. North Dakota State University Press, c2018 (260 pages, photos) How’s this for timing? I finished this interesting new book, one of the many excellent books being produced by North Dakota State University Press, just as the biggest winter storm of the season is upon us. This is the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — I Wish For A Friend

The mailman brought me a small package this week, book-sized, postmarked and with a return address from the town in which I grew up, Hettinger, N.D. Well, it was obviously a book, and I love it when people send me books, so I opened it immediately. It was indeed a book, a very special book, with a letter tucked neatly …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘The Prairie Post Office’

“The Prairie Post Office: Enlarging the Common Life in Rural North Dakota.” K. Amy Phillips and Steven R. Bolduc, history by Kevin Carvell. North Dakota State University Press, 2017, 102 pages, color photographs, maps and other illustrations. Box 172, Rhame, N.D. That was my childhood address in Slope County. Our school bus driver was also our rural mail carrier, driving …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — The Wonder Of Birds

Thank goodness for winter, a time here at Red Oak House for us to catch up on reading. About a year ago, I bought myself the book “The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us About Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future,” by Jim Robbins (Spiegel & Grau, c2017). I tucked it away, waiting for an opportune time to …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Father Sherman’s Magnum Opus: ‘Prairie Mosaic’

With every turn of a page in “Prairie Mosaic,” the reader will delve into the rich ethnic history of North Dakota. The Rev. William C. Sherman labored for many years to reveal an astonishing level of detail, down to the township level, and to tell the story of the state’s inhabitants. “Prairie Mosaic: An Ethnic Atlas of Rural North Dakota,” …