Back by popular demand, the State Historical Society of Iowa’s book club returns this year with a new lineup of entertaining and thought-provoking books and authors.
The Iowa History Book Club will kick off its second year in February when Art Cullen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and co-owner of the Storm Lake Times, will talk about his book “Storm Lake: Change, Resilience and Hope in America’s Heartland.” The Cullen family and their paper are also the subjects of “Storm Lake,” an award-winning documentary film about their fight to save Iowa’s small-town newspapers.
Later in 2022, the book club will feature Richard Bennett’s “Mormons at the Missouri” in April, John C. Culver and John Hyde’s “American Dreamer: A Life of Henry A. Wallace” in September, and Linda Clemmons’ “Dakota in Exile” in December.
Each online discussion will be led by Andrew Klumpp, editor of The Annals of Iowa, the quarterly journal published by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.
“We were delighted with the response to last year’s schedule of books and authors, and we are featuring another top-notch set of offerings this year,” Klumpp said. “I want to thank all of our featured guests for their work and invite all Iowans to join us as we move through the year with each program.”
All of the programs will be hosted online and recorded via Zoom, then posted afterward at iowaculture.gov. Registration is free but required for each event. Questions may be submitted with the online registration form or during the event itself. Participants are encouraged but not required to read the book before the meeting. All of the books can be purchased online or borrowed from most libraries.
In addition to the book club, the State Historical Society of Iowa has announced nine new Iowa History 101 online presentations from now through the end of March, which is Iowa History Month. Each 60-minute program focuses on the lives of Iowans, their stories and the past through a cultural history lens. For more information, visit here.
The full 2022 Iowa History Book Club schedule follows:
7 p.m. Feb. 3: “Storm Lake: Change, Resilience and Hope in America’s Heartland” With author Art Cullen
In this candid and timely book, Art Cullen, the Storm Lake Times editor who won a 2017 Pulitzer Prize for calling attention to Iowa’s polluted rivers, describes how the heartland has changed dramatically over his career. In a story where politics, farming, conservation and immigration converge, Cullen offers an unsentimental ode to rural America and to the resilient people of a vibrant community of 15,000 in northwest Iowa.
7 p.m. April 14: “Mormons at the Missouri” With author Richard Bennett
The historic trek that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took from Illinois, through southern Iowa, and on to the Salt Lake Valley was an enduring accomplishment of American overland trail migration, but their wintering at the Missouri River near present-day Omaha was also a feat of faith and perseverance. In this book, Richard E. Bennett, who taught church history and doctrine for more than 20 years at Brigham Young University, presents new facts and ideas that challenge old assumptions—particularly that life on the frontier encouraged American individualism.
7 p.m. Sept. 22: “American Dreamer: A Life of Henry A. Wallace”
With Tim Walch, director emeritus of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum
Henry Agard Wallace was a trailblazing politician, agriculturalist, economist, author and businessman—loved and reviled, and revealed in this first full biography. To tell the remarkable story of the Iowa-born secretary of agriculture, vice president and authentic American dreamer, the late U.S. Senator John C. Culver and journalist John Hyde combed through thousands of document pages, letters, diaries and family papers, as well as previously unavailable files sealed within the archives of the Soviet Union. Tim Walch, director emeritus of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, will join Andrew Klumpp to discuss Culver and Hyde’s award-winning biography of this monumental figure in Iowa and national politics.
7 p.m. Dec. 1: “Dakota in Exile” With author Linda Clemmons
Robert Hopkins was a man caught between two worlds. As a member of the Dakota Nation, he was accused of taking up arms against U.S. soldiers when war broke out with the Dakota in 1862. However, as a Christian convert and preacher, Hopkins’ allegiance was often questioned by his fellow Dakota. His personal and professional connections spared him from execution after the 1862 dispute, but he was unfairly imprisoned in Davenport, Iowa, while his family was forced onto a reservation in Dakota Territory. To tell this difficult chapter of American history, Illinois State University professor of history Linda Clemmons examined personal letters, newspaper accounts and federal documents that create a multifaceted account that complicates our understanding of the Midwest and serves as a testament to the resilience of the Dakota and other Indigenous people.
For more information visit iowaculture.gov.