Tag Archives: Midwest Maize

Best of 2015

I’m happy to relate that my book, Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland, has been listed as one of the 9 best nonfiction books of 2015 by the Chicago Book Review.

I write to connect with people, as well as to inform, and I am delighted by the realization that the book is connecting with some.

If you’re interested in the list, you can find it here: Chicago Book Review Best of 2015.

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Filed under Agriculture, Corn, Culture, Farming, Food, History, Literature, Midwest, Midwest Maize

Midwest Maize on Sale on Amazon

I’m not certain why — perhaps we’re nearing the end of the first print run — or maybe it’s because I’ve been getting more newspaper and radio interviews lately, so demand has gone up — who knows — but for some reason, Midwest Maize has been put on sale on Amazon, and the price is so low, if you manage to escape paying shipping, it’s less than what I pay with my author discount.

So if you were thinking about buying the book, this is the time. I have no idea how long the sale will last — maybe just until the 17 books Amazon now says they have on hand are gone. But this would be a good time to get the book if you were thinking about it.

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MIDWEST MAIZE: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland

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Filed under Agriculture, Corn, Culture, Farming, Food, History, Literature, Midwest, Midwest Maize

Bloomington, Illinois

Downtown Bloomington

Downtown Bloomington

My research for Midwest Maize involved a lot of reading, but it also involved a lot of visiting places important to corn. My first “corn trip” started with a visit to Bloomington, Illinois. Iowa grows more corn than any other state, but McLean County, Illinois, grows more corn than any other single county in the United States, and Bloomington is the county seat for McLean.

Bloomington is old for the Midwest, with the first settlers arriving in the 1820s. It’s a lovely place to visit, and a good base of operations for exploring both agricultural libraries and sites significant to the history of corn. It is also the location of the McLean County Museum of History, which is housed in the old County Courthouse. The museum holds not only displays of the area’s past but is also home to splendid archives for anyone doing research on the early history of the Midwest. I spent several days immersed in the fascinating memorabilia and documents of an earlier age, from transcribed interviews to collections of letters. It was a splendid start to my research.

My first day in Bloomington, I discovered that the local farmers’ market is quite appropriately located in the streets and parkland that surround the museum—so I could pass through current farmers on my way to study their forebears. It pleased me greatly.

Farmers Market and History Museum

Farmers Market and History Museum

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Filed under Agriculture, Farming, History, Midwest, Travel