Meet The Press: The Top 10

The University Press of Kansas publishes scholarly books that advance knowledge and regional books that contribute to the understanding of Kansas, the Great Plains and the Midwest. Founded in 1946, we represent the six state universities: Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University, the University of Kansas and Wichita State University. We have published more than 900 books.

Top-10 Best-Selling books in UPK’s 71-year history:

 

hitler10. Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers; The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military

by Bryan Mark Rigg

On the murderous road to “racial purity” Hitler encountered unexpected detours, largely due to his own crazed views and inconsistent policies regarding Jewish identity. After centuries of Jewish assimilation and intermarriage in German society, he discovered that eliminating Jews from the rest of the population was more difficult than he’d anticipated. As Bryan Rigg shows in this provocative new study, nowhere was that heinous process more fraught with contradiction and confusion than in the German military.

education

09. Education for Extinction; American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928

by David Wallace Adams

The last “Indian War” was fought against Native American children in the dormitories and classrooms of government boarding schools. Only by removing Indian children from their homes for extended periods of time, policymakers reasoned, could white “civilization” take root while childhood memories of “savagism” gradually faded to the point of extinction. In the words of one official: “Kill the Indian and save the man.”

old-time08. True Tales of Old-Time Kansas

by David Dary

“Authentic history, delightfully told” – Ray A. Billington. David Dary, award-winning chronicler of life on the frontier plains, is at his entertaining best in these thirty-nine episodes, sagas, and tales from Kansas’s vigorous, free-spirited past. Many of the stories appeared in Dary’s True Tales of the Old-Time Plains, but that book, out of print for several years, focused on the Great Plains in general. This edition pulls together tales about people, animals and events in what is today Kansas, including the old territory of Kansas (1854-1861) that stretched from the Missouri River westward to the summit of the Rocky Mountains.

erotic

07. The Philosophy of (Erotic) Love

by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins

What does philosophy know of love? From Plato on, philosophers have struggled to pin love to the dissecting table and view it in the cold light of logic. Yet, as Arthur Danto writes in the foreword to this volume, “how incorrigibly stiff philosophy is when it undertakes to lay its icy fingers on the frilled and beating wings of the butterfly of love.”

 

novus06. Novus Ordo Seclorum; The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution

by Forrest McDonald

This is the first major interpretation of the framing of the Constitution to appear in more than two decades. Forrest McDonald, widely considered one of the foremost historians of the Constitution and of the early national period, reconstructs the intellectual world of the Founding Fathers—including their understanding of law, history political philosophy, and political economy, and their firsthand experience in public affairs—and then analyzes their behavior in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in light of that world. No one has attempted to do so on such a scale before. McDonald’s principal conclusion is that, though the Framers brought a variety of ideological and philosophical positions to bear upon their task of building a “new order of the ages,” they were guided primarily by their own experience, their wisdom, and their common sense.

ghost-towns

05. Ghost Towns of Kansas; A Traveler’s Guide

by Daniel C. Fitzgerald

Ghost Towns of Kansas is a practical guide to the forsaken settlements and a chronicle of their role in the history of Kansas. It focuses on 100 towns that have either disappeared without a trace or are only “a shadowy remnant of what they once were,” telling the story of each town’s settlement, politics, colorful figures and legends, and eventual abandonment or decline.

 

deadly-combat

04. In Deadly Combat; A German Soldier’s Memoir of the Eastern Front

by Gottlob Herbert Bidermann Derek S. Zumbro

In the hell that was World War II, the Eastern Front was its heart of fire and ice. Gottlob Herbert Bidermann served in that lethal theater from 1941 to 1945, and his memoir of those years recaptures the sights, sounds, and smells of the war as it vividly portrays an army marching on the road to ruin.

 

muscles03. Visualizing Muscles; A New Ecorche Approach to Surface Anatomy

by John Cody

As the human body moves, muscles contract and relax, creating subtle changes in body contours and shifting patterns of light and shadow on the skin’s surface. Visualizing exactly what happens beneath the skin to cause these changes on the surface is an essential skill for artists, physicians, physical therapists, and body builders-for anyone who needs to understand the body in motion. Visualizing Muscles is an innovative aid to drawing, sculpting, and learning surface anatomy.

cookbook02. The Kansas Cookbook; Recipes from the Heartland

by Frank Carey and Jayni Naas (Carey)

As reported in Newsweek, in various food magazines, and in the pages of major American newspapers, the Heartland is being rediscovered—and along with it, wholesome Midwestern cooking. The trend, part of a larger fascination with regionalism, has led authors Frank Carey and Jayni Naas to a celebration of Kansas cooking. In The Kansas Cookbook, Carey and Naas present more than 400 delicious recipes that reflect the state’s history, its ethnic diversity, and its agriculture. The New Kansas Cookbook; Rural Roots Modern Table is also now available from press.

 

first-battles01. America’s First Battles, 1775-1965

by Charles E. Heller and William A. Stofft

This volume, a collection of eleven original essays by many of the foremost U.S. military historians, focuses on the transition of the Army from parade ground to battleground in each of nine wars the United States has fought. Through careful analysis of organization, training, and tactical doctrine, each essay seeks to explain the strengths and weaknesses evidenced by the outcome of the first significant engagement or campaign of the war. The concluding essay sets out to synthesize the findings and to discover whether or not American first battles manifest a characteristic “rhythm.”

An Ode to the Independents

img_8305Our press is located in Lawrence, Kansas.

The university town has long been a regional center for independent, free-thinking. Before Kansas was a state, Lawrence was ground zero for the abolitionist movement in the territory. After statehood, when a pack of guerilla bandits crossed the border from Missouri and burned most of the town to ashes, Lawrence dusted itself off, and got back to living its independent life.

We are proud to be supported by two outstanding independent bookstores. The Raven Bookstore and the KU Bookstore are vastly different operations, but share a common vision of supporting authors, readers and a fierce passion for getting the job done their way.

The Raven sits on a side street just off Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence. If you close your eyes and picture a quaint bookstore, chances are you’ll imagine The Raven. Old wood floors creak with each step and the store is full, floor-to-ceiling, with books. The shop has a reputation for stocking the best mystery novels available, but also carries a full line of non-fiction, best-seller, children and regional books.

Heidi Raak has operated The Raven Bookstore for 9 years (the store has been a staple for Lawrence readers since 1987). An independent store since its inception, Raak has weathered (and continues to weather) the changes in the marketplace.

img_8308“Obviously our biggest competition isn’t another store in town, but the internet,” Raak says with a matter-of-fact tone. “We have to overcome the ease of buying a book online with great customer service and knowledge. I think the atmosphere of the store and the experience of shopping for a book is a big draw. There’s something about picking up a book and holding it that is special. You can’t get that online.”

Raak works hard to create an environment around the store that keeps people interested. The Raven hosts countless book launches, readings and parties with authors. Those events bring people to the store and help establish the staff as go-to resources.

“We understand we’re part of a community,” Raak explains. “We support local artists and well-represented authors. We’re proud to carry books by the (University) Press. We appreciate the support Lawrence gives us, and we work hard to be the best, most-welcoming bookstore in town.”

img_8317Up the hill from The Raven, on the north edge of the University of Kansas campus, the KU Bookstore fills most of the 2nd floor of the Kansas Union. The store is one of only a handful of bookstores serving a major university that operate independent of the university.

“We are completely independent of the University of Kansas,” explains Jen O’Connor, store director. “We have no affiliation or obligation to the university. In addition, we are an operating non-profit, which helps us serve the students of KU more effectively.”

The great majority of university bookstores are operated by a larger, national bookstore. When asked to name other independent stores serving universities, O’Connor struggles to name more than two or three.

“I know there are more, but  honestly, not many,” she says with a laugh. “We are independent of the University but Student Affairs has oversight of the KU Memorial Union, of which we are a part.”

Much like The Raven, the KU Bookstore puts a lot of effort into bringing students, and the Lawrence community, into the store with events. O’Connor estimates they host one or two unique events a week either at the store or somewhere on campus.

“We have to stay relevant to the students,” she explains. “We know these students have a lot of options and we work hard to be their first choice. Luckily, not a lot of outlets carry every textbook they need.”

Because the store is a non-profit, they can often offer very competitive prices on trade, text and consumer books. In fact, almost half of the store’s sales are books or products not for a class.

“We don’t have to answer to sales numbers or investors,” O’Connor says. “We have to pay the bills and keep the lights on. That gives us a great opportunity to stay competitive on price – which is a big, big help.”

 

“An Ode to the Independents” is our contribution to University Press Week blog tour. Be sure to check out posts by the University of Texas Press, the University of Chicago Press,  Cornell University Press, University Press of Colorado, NYU Press  and our friends at the University Press of Kentucky.

The Nature Conservancy, Little Jerusalem & the Wilds of Kansas

by George Frazier, author of The Last Wild Places of Kansas.

courtesy of hdnews.net
photo courtesy of hdnews.net

Great American Desert, flyover country, perfect platonic flatness, Tornado Alley, Dustbowl, Brownbackistan. Do these reject band names —all digs used at various times to describe our grassland zeitgeist —represent only the prejudice of some non-Kansans, or do they reflect something deeper we’ve internalized about ourselves? I sometimes wonder, when it comes to our wild lands, if Kansas has a chronic self-esteem issue, an inferiority complex of landscape.  One environmental slur I’ve always thought we would do better to embrace (and promote) is “badlands”, in the geologic sense —those rugged western landforms starved for water and sculpted by erosion.

From the Lakota mako (land) sica (bad), the term was first used to describe the whimsically eroded mixed-grass hill country of the Lakota homeland in South Dakota. Although the landscape of the Dakota Badlands is unforgiving (in an Old Testament way), nearly a million Aquafina-clutching vacationers exit I-90 every year to visit Badlands National Park and its maze of buttes, pinnacles and spires. It’s a place of little comfort, but many comfort stations.

Kansas, too, has badlands, but they don’t attract many visitors and you’ll be hard pressed to find a public restroom. This is a shame (well, not the part about the public restrooms). Spectacularly under the radar, steeped in Native American and environmental history, the Kansas badlands are a reminder of the remarkable diversity of landforms in the state.

In the 21st Century, access has become the most significant metadatum of the Kansas landscape.  More than ninety-eight percent of Kansas land is privately owned.  By itself this isn’t necessarily bad – while writing and researching my book The Last Wild Places of Kansas I found that the private land owners of Kansas are the greatest champions and most devoted stewards of our last wild places. But to most Americans, and many Kansans, this lack of access can seem like non-existence, and that’s why most people in eastern Kansas have never heard of the Gypsum (or Red) Hills of south-central Kansas or the Arikaree Breaks in extreme northwest Kansas, our two geophysical provinces most defined by badlands topography.

Sculpted from the soft mineral gypsum (Sun City is home to both the largest gypsum mine and one of the most infamous saloons – Busters – in Kansas), the Gypsum Hills west of Medicine Lodge are a shy but stunning precinct of the southern plains. Canyonlands, Martian soil, sandstone buttes, and mesas create a skyline that looks more like Arizona than Kansas. Tables of gypsum, a mineral that occurs as flat, diamond-shaped crystals of selenite and as a silky pink crust called satin spar, cap the tallest hills. In Comanche County, Ted Turner owns the largest single ranch in Kansas – over forty thousand acres of prairie that includes a sparkling section of the Salt Fork of the Arkansas – completely dedicated to buffalo production. They’ve enrolled more than thirty thousand acres in the lesser prairie-chicken recovery program. They’ve petitioned for water rights to rehabilitate a wetland for migratory birds. Throughout the region caves pocked in the porous gypsum provide habitat for bats found nowhere else in the state, including the Brazilian free-tailed bat.

The Arikaree Breaks – our other significant badlands province — are every bit as stunning and unexpected as the Red Hills, but instead of an erosional substrate of red sandstone and gypsum, the Arikaree breaks are sculpted from loess — a fine glacial soil that covers rock gorges, canyons, gravel ridges, and even small mountains lying far beneath the surface of the Great Plains. Loess and other high plains depositional materials are a result of erosion that wore down the Rocky Mountains. Runoff over the course of millions of years deposited this fine slurry across a vast swatch of the Great Plains.

9780700622191Perhaps even more than in the Red Hills, Native American history echoes across the Arikaree Breaks. Nowhere else in Kansas is the drama of the Indian Wars more evident. The Cheyenne warrior Roman Nose was killed along the Arikaree (just across the Colorado state line) and thousands of Native American survivors of the Sand Hill Massacre fled there to regroup and plan their next move in a seminal moment during the Indian Wars.

Like the Red Hills, the Arikaree Breaks have virtually no public access—only a state-sponsored scenic drive on Kansas Highway 27 north of Saint Francis. Brochures lure would-be travelers with dramatic photographs but then warn them to stick to public roads and stay in the car. Anywhere you set foot is trespassing.

But the landscape of access in the Kansas badlands is about to change. Running west across the Smoky Hill country of the Kansas high plains, a thin vein of chalk monuments adds a third movement to the Kansas badlands trilogy. Encompassing Monument Rocks, Castle Rock, the Chalk Pyramids, and a handful of other sites, gracious landowners have provided access to these wild places for years. At a distance, some of these Niobrara chalk formations remind me of small bison herds turned – a la Lot’s wife —into pillars of salt.

In early October, the Nature Conservancy announced plans to acquire “Little Jerusalem,” located between Scott City and Oakley off of US-83, the single largest rock formation in Kansas at more than a mile across. The 330-acre tract will include about 250 acres of rocks. Described as a “golden city” the site also sports a first class fossil field. The discovery of Clovis points in the area means people have been making pilgrimages to Little Jerusalem since before the founding of “Big” Jerusalem.

The new acquisition adds to the Nature Conservancy’s holdings in Logan County, which has played an important role in recent environmental history. In the mid-2000s, a “prairie dog war” was waged between the Logan County Commission and ranchers Larry and Better Haverfield, Gordon Barnhardt and Maxine Blank. At the time, the US Fish and Wildlife service was considering the Haverfield Ranch for reintroduction site of the black-footed ferret, America’s most endangered mammal. The deal hinged on the ranch’s robust (and plague free) prairie dog colony, the largest on the southern plains. The commission argued that the ranchers’ rights to promote prairie dogs on their property were trumped by a century-old Kansas law granting township boards the authority to poison prairie dogs on private property without the landowner’s permission and send them the bill. Eventually Haverfield and his partners prevailed, and just before Christmas in 2007, the black-footed ferret recovery team released ferrets at the ranch, the first to stalk the dark tunnels of a Kansas prairie dog metropolis since the 1950s. With less notoriety, ferrets were also successfully reintroduced at the Nature Conservancy’s other Logan County property, the Smoky Valley Ranch.

Here’s why I think public access at places like the Smoky Hill Ranch, and soon, Little Jerusalem, is important. Rex Buchanan of the Kansas Geologic Survey has said that we Kansans think of ourselves as a rural people, because we once were. But today, more than 50% of Kansans live in just five urban counties. We’ve become an urban people. In eastern Kansan this trend is accelerating as millennials – priced out of hipper locales on the coasts – have started immigrating to places like Kansas City, Lawrence, Manhattan and Emporia, bringing with them a hunger for authentic local experiences in the wild. Many of these newly minted Kansans don’t want to feel like strangers in their own state; they want to “learn the land.” Access at Little Jerusalem and other high quality wild places comes just in time as more Kansans realize what an important role the state played in the environmental history of this nation, a legacy that continues to this day.

The details about public access are still in the works, but I’m glad to hear this wild place will be preserved thanks to the efforts of the Nature Conservancy. This will give people one more reason to head out in search of the true nature of Kansas lands, both the good and the bad.

George Frazier’s book The Last Wild Places of Kansas won the 2016 Ferguson Award for Kansas History. Frazier lives in Lawrence with his wife and daughter.

Huelskamp’s Defeat: Did Kansas Aggies Get their Revenge?

5726782ca3c5b_previewBy Christopher Bosso

The 1st Kansas is one of the nation’s largest and most rural House districts, stretching from the suburbs of Topeka over 300 miles westward along the Nebraska border to Colorado and curling south another 200 miles to the Oklahoma state line.

The Big First is also Agriculture: vast fields of wheat and grain sorghum interspersed with “concentrated feeding operations” of thousands of head of beef cattle. Not surprisingly, those representing the 1st in Congress, including Representative (later Senator) Robert Dole and Representative (later Senator) Pat Roberts, were devoted to and left indelible fingerprints on agricultural policy – and to making sure that Kansas got its fair share of federal funds.

In 2010 the district’s voters elected state senator Tim Huelskamp to fill a seat left empty when fellow Republican Jerry Moran won the Senate seat vacated when, Sam Brownback, also a Republican, became governor. Huelskamp beat out five other Republicans with 34.5% of the vote in a hotly contested primary, after which he went on to an easy general election victory in a district that voted Democrat only once (1953-1955) in its history.

Huelskamp grew up on a farm in Fowler – 2010 population, 590 – and like many future members of Congress had an early fascination with politics and public policy. He returned to Kansas in 1995 after finishing his doctorate in political science and jumped into politics, getting elected a year later as one of the youngest state senators in decades. He was reelected three times with ease, largely on his conservative values on issues like abortion and same sex marriage as well as his views that government was too big and too expensive. Perhaps reflecting training in a Catholic seminary, or maybe just because he is contrarian by nature, Huelskamp also showed a willingness to criticize fellow Republicans he thought weren’t hewing to those values, to the point that in 2003 he was removed from the key Senate Ways and Means Committee for clashing with party leaders. His reputation with voters for his uncompromising defense of his – and their – beliefs, aided by the support of national conservative groups, enabled Huelskamp to enter Congress in 2010 as part of the “tea party” wave that gave Republicans control of the House.

Huelskamp promptly claimed the district’s “traditional” seat on the House Agriculture Committee. However, anyone who thought that he went to Washington to promote Kansas agriculture were soon disabused. To the surprise of no one who paid attention to his career, Huelskamp fast became a thorn in the side of House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans leaders. He also refused to compromise on cutting federal spending, even when the all-important Farm Bill was up for reauthorization. In fact, despite pleas by Kansas agricultural groups to support passage, Huelskamp and fellow House conservatives blocked action on the Farm Bill throughout the 112th Congress (2011-2012).

In December 2012 Speaker Boehner, furious at Huelskamp’s obstinacy, booted him from the Budget Committee and, to make the lesson hit closer to home, the Agriculture Committee. The Big First now had no seat on Agriculture for the first time in (recent?) history. Huelskamp, along with the other three members of the Kansas House delegation – the most conservative in the country – also famously voted against the final version of the Agricultural Act of 2014 – the Farm Bill! – despite pleas by Kansas agricultural leaders to support the compromise measure.

All of this should have hurt Huelskamp at home. Boehner certainly hoped that Big First voters would elect a more agreeable Republican. But they didn’t: Huelskamp survived a primary challenge by an underfunded opponent and won easy re-election in 2014. So did his three compatriots, no doubt because they adhered to the set of values on which their supporters sent them to Congress in the first place.

It’s August 2016. Huelskamp again faced a primary challenge. This time he got thumped, losing by 13 points to political novice Roger Marshall. Barring a cataclysm in November, Marshall will be the Big First’s next representative.

Many saw Huelskamp’s ouster as the revenge of Kansas Agriculture. Indeed, former Huelskamp allies at the Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Livestock Association supported Marshall, as did the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Association of Wheat Growers. Not surprisingly, Marshall pledges to regain the 1st’s rightful place on the House Agriculture Committee.

Yet Huelskamp’s loss may have more to do with Republican Party politics than with the power of agriculture interests. The primary was like the Spanish Civil War – the warm-up for World War II – with each combatant backed by outside powers using the two as proxies in a bigger fight. Huelskamp had the support of National Right to Life, the National Rifle Association, and conservative groups like Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity. Marshall, no liberal, was backed by what passes these days for Establishment Republicanism – notably the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. These groups poured nearly $3 million into the race, most of it fueling an arms race of television and radio ads. The money mattered: few challengers can beat an incumbent, even one with Huelskamp’s negatives, without it.

While Huelskamp alienated voters, he lost only because he faced a well-funded opponent in a one-on-one race funded by outside groups with their own agendas. Agriculture got its revenge, but only as a result of that larger war within the Republican Party.

Christopher Bosso is professor of public policy at Northeastern University. His areas of interest include food and environmental policy, science and technology policy, and the governance of emerging technologies. His newest book, Framing the Farm Bill: Interests, Ideology, and the Agricultural Act of 2014 will be published by UPK next year.

Save the Date: Soon-to-Be UPK Author Mark Eberle to be Interviewed on Kansas Baseball

13082531_10154906351667818_3521218845187720829_nMark Eberle is an up-and-coming UPK author and will be interviewed on Kansas baseball after these two screenings of “Town Teams: Bigger than Baseball”:

-April 28, 7pm, Shawnee 18 Theaters, 16301 Midland Drive, Shawnee, KS. Film and panel discussion, FREE.

-April 30, 7pm, Central Cinema 7, 300 East Central, El Dorado, KS. Film and panel discussion, $20 (proceeds go to the YMCA and the Kansas Oil Museum).

UPK Publishes 49 of 150 Best Books of Kansas

ks lib logThe State Library of Kansas hosts a list of the 150 Best Kansas Books. UPK is proud to claim credit for publishing 49 of these tomes, including:

1001 Kansas Place Names, by Sondra Van Meter McCoy and Jan Hults

The Autobiography of William Allen White, by William Allen White

Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era, by Nicole Etcheson

Brown v. Board of Education: Caste, Culture, and the Constitution, by Robert Cottrol, Raymond T. Diamond and Leland B. Ware

Dying and Living on the Kansas Prairie: A Diary, by Carol Brunner Rutledge (out of print at this time)

The End of Indian Kansas: A Study of Cultural Revolution, 1854-1871, by H. Craig Miner and William E. Unrau

The Enduring Indians of Kansas: A Century and a Half of Acculturation, by Joseph B. Herring

Exodusters: Black Migrations to Kansas After Reconstruction, by Nell Irvin Painter (out of print at this time)

Farming the Dust Bowl: A First-Hand Account from Kansas, by Lawrence Svoboda

Flint Hills Cowboys: Tales from the Tallgrass Prairie, by Jim Hoy

Folklore from Kansas: Customs, Beliefs and Superstitions, William E. Koch (ed.)

Ghost Towns of Kansas: A Traveler’s Guide, by Daniel Fitzgerald

The Great Kansas Bond Scandal, by Robert Smith Bader

Guide to Kansas Architecture, by David H. Sachs and George Ehrlich

The Guide to Kansas Birds and Birding Hot Spots, by Bob Gress and Pete Janzen

Haunted Kansas: Ghost Stories and Other Eerie Tales, by Lisa Hefner Heitz

Hayseeds, Moralizers, and Methodists: The Twentieth-Century Image of Kansas, by Robert Smith Bader

Home on the Range: A Century on the High Plains, by James R. Dickenson

Indian Orphanages, by Marilyn Irvin Holt

John Brown to Bob Dole: Movers and Shakers in Kansas History, Virgil W. Dean (ed.)

Kansas: A History of the Sunflower State, 1854-2000, by H. Craig Miner

Kansas and the West: New Perspectives, Rita Napier (ed.)

Kansas Archaeology, by Robert J. Hoard and William E. Banks

The Kansas Cookbook, by Frank Carey and Jayni Naas

Kansas Geology: An Introduction to Landscapes, Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils, Rex Buchanan (ed.)

Kansas in Color: Photographs Selected by Kansas! Magazine, Andrea Glenn (ed.) (out of print at this time)

Kansas Murals: A Traveler’s Guide, by Laura Jost and Dave Loewenstein

Kansas Quilts & Quilters, by Barbara Brackman and Jennie Chin (out of print at this time)

Kansas Wetlands: A Wildlife Treasury, Joseph T. Collins, Suzanne L. Collins and Bob Gress

A Kansas Year, by Mike Blair

Land of the Post Rock: Its Origins, History and People, by Grace Muilenburg and Ada Swineford

Living Landscapes of Kansas, paintings by Robert Sudlow

The Last Cattle Drive, by Robert Day

Next Year Country: Dust to Dust in Western Kansas, 1890-1940, by H. Craig Miner

Peopling the Plains: Who Settled Where in Frontier Kansas, by James R. Shortridge

Prohibition in Kansas: A History, by Robert Smith Bader

Roadside Kansas: A Traveler’s Guide to its Geology and Landmarks, by Rex C. Buchanan and James R. McCauley

Section 27: A Century on a Family Farm, by Mil Penner

Seeding Civil War: Kansas in the National News, 1854-1858, by H. Craig Miner

Sod and Stubble: The Story of a Kansas Homestead, by John Ise

Sod-House Days: Letters from a Kansas Homesteader, 1877-1878, by Howard Ruede

Time, Politics, and Policies: A Legislative Year, by Burdett A. Loomis

A Time to Lose: Representing Kansas in Brown v. Board of Education, by Paul E. Wilson

True Tales of Old-Time Kansas, by David Dary

West of Wichita: Settling the High Plains of Kansas, 1865-1890, by H. Craig Miner

What Kansas Means to Me: Twentieth-Century Writers on the Sunflower State, Thomas Fox Averill (ed.)

Wildflowers and Grasses of Kansas: A Field Guide, by Michael John Haddock

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Kansas Centennial Edition, by L. Frank Baum, Michael McCurdy, and Ray Bradbury

The WPA Guide to 1930s Kansas, by the Federal Writers’ Project of the Work Projects Administration for the State of Kansas, Introduction by James R. Shortridge

Backpacker Magazine Lauds “Kansas Trail Guide”

9780700620661Backpacker Magazine praises Jonathan Conard and Kristin Conard’s take on Kansas hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails inside “Kansas Trail Guide: The Best Hiking, Biking, and Riding in the Sunflower State,” while ranking the 30-mile Elk River Trail as #5 in its monthly picks. Get your explore on.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk

9780700621187Just in time for The University of Kansas’ sesquicentennial anniversary, John L. Rury and Kim Cary Warren offer, “Transforming the University of Kansas:  A History, 1965-2015.”  The book reflects upon the people, politics, and developments that have transformed KU–making it the distinctive institution of higher learning that it is today.  Luminaries like Dick Bond, Bernadette Gray-Little, Mandy Patinkin, Rob Riggle, The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Bill Self, Delbert M. Shankel, David Shulenberger, and more offer reflections on the book, for example:

“When I think of KU, I’m young again.

It was the last place my father saw me do what I love to do: perform.

It gave me great teachers and lifelong friends.

It was a place that taught, supported and encouraged me to pursue what I loved

And it was the first place I fell in love.

I don’t know what more a person of any age could ask for.

Rock. . . chalk. . . Jay. . . hawk. . . K. . . you. . . ooo. . . K. . . you. . . ooo.”

–Mandy Patinkin, Tony® Award-winning and Emmy®-Award-winning actor

“Field Guide to Common Grasses” Selected as 2015 Notable Book by State Library of Kansas

9780700619450Iralee Barnard’s “Field Guide to the Common Grasses of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska” has been selected by The State Library of Kansas as a 2015 Notable Book.  The Kansas Notable Book List is the only honor for Kansas books by Kansans and features quality titles with wide public appeal, either written by Kansans or about a Kansas-related topic. A committee of Kansas Center for the Book (KCFB) Affiliates, Fellows, librarians and authors of previous Notable Books identifies these titles from among those published the previous year, and the State Librarian makes the selection for the final List. An awards ceremony will be held at the Kansas Book Festival, September 12, 2015, to recognize the talented Notable Book authors.