Middle West Review

Middle West Review

Edited by Jon K. Lauck
Jeff Wells and MaryKat Parks Workinger, Associate Editors 

ISSN 2372-5664

eISSN 2372-5672

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The Middle West Review is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal focused on studying the American Midwest, a “lost region” which has received far less scholarly attention than other American regions. Middle West Review is the only scholarly print publication dedicated exclusively to the study of the Midwest as a region. It provides a forum for scholars and non-scholars alike to explore the meaning of Midwestern identity, history, geography, society, culture, and politics. Overall, the mission of the Middle West Review is to join with like-minded associations, historical societies, writers, and scholars to help revitalize the study of the American Midwest. The inaugural issue of the journal was published in the fall of 2014 and since 2019 Middle West Review has made the University of South Dakota its home. 

Table Of Contents

Volume 6, Issues 1–2 (Fall–Spring 2019–20)

Midwestern Dreams or Nightmares? An Appreciation and Critique of Caroline Fraser’s Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder
John E. Miller

Ideological Origins of a Radical Democrat: The Early Political Thought of Tom L. Johnson, 1888–1895
Michael Megery

Soft, Democratic, and Universalist: In Search of the Main Currents of Traditional Midwestern Identity and a Grand Historiographic Synthesis
Jon K. Lauck

Book Reviews

John P. Bowes, Land Too Good for Indians: Northern Indian Removal
John R. Wunder

Carrie Tirado Bramen, American Niceness: A Cultural History
Wayne Anderson

Frank Cicero Jr., Creating the Land of Lincoln: The History and Constitutions of Illinois, 1778–1870
Nathan E. Perz, Esq.

Julianne Couch, The Small-Town Midwest: Resilience and Hope in the Twenty-First Century
Emily Prifogle

Julie L. Davis, Survival Schools: The American Indian Movement and Community Education in the Twin Cities
Linda Clemmons

Paul Durcan, Wild, Wild Erie: Poems Inspired by Works of Art in the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio
Ryan Schnurr

John Herrmann, Foreign Born
Frederic Svoboda

Paul E. Herron, Framing the Solid South: The State Constitutional Conventions of Secession, Reconstruction, and Redemption, 1860–1902
Silvana R. Siddali

Theodore J. Karamanski and Eileen M. McMahon, Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History
Christopher R. Reed

Mark A. Lause, The Great Cowboy Strike: Bullets, Ballots, and Class Conflicts in the American West
Jeff Wells

Phillip J. Obermiller and Thomas E. Wagner, The Cincinnati Human Relations Commission: A History, 1943–2013
Charles F. Casey-Leininger

Derek S. Oden, Harvest of Hazards: Family Farming, Accidents, and Expertise in the Corn Belt, 1940–1975
Jeff Bremer

Liesl Olson, Chicago Renaissance: Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis
John E. Hallwas

Garin Pirnia, Rebels and Underdogs: The Story of Ohio Rock and Roll
Ray Schuck

Mark B. Pohlad, James R. Hopkins: Faces of the Heartland
Marissa Vigneault

Shari Rabin, Jews on the Frontier: Religion and Mobility in Nineteenth-Century America
Mara W. Cohen Ioannides

Roger L. Rosentreter, Michigan: A History of Explorers, Entrepreneurs, and Everyday People
Matthew Lawrence Daley

Winton U. Solberg, Creating the Big Ten: Courage, Corruption, and Commercialization
Peter A. Coclanis

Richard Samuel West, Iconoclast in Ink: The Political Cartoons of Jay N. “Ding” Darling
Paul V. Murphy

Dave Zweifel and John Nichols, The Capital Times: A Proudly Radical Newspaper’s Century-Long Fight for Justice and for Peace
Jonathan Kasparek

Book Review Essays

Midwestern Soldiers in the Civil War
L. Bao Bui

Midwestern History is Out of the Closet
Matthew Pehl

Recent Developments in Midwestern Labor History
Nathan Tye

Hispanics in the Middle West
Roger Davis

Media Reviews

Traversing the Class Boundary: Gone Girl (2014) as Failed Remake
Anthony Ballas

“A Riot is the Language of the Unheard”: The Grassroots Activism of Whose Streets? (2017)
Julia Alekseyeva

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), directed by Martin McDonagh
Caroline Fernelius

Alec MacGillis, “Left Behind America,” Frontline, PBS, 2018
Lisa Tyler

Submissions & Book Reviews

Statement of Publishing Ethics

The Middle West Review accepts submissions on a rolling basis. We encourage readers to contribute original content that deepens the public’s understanding of the American Midwest in an accessible and thoughtful manner. Some examples of submission types include:

Articles and Essays
Scholarly articles or essays should run roughly 8,000-12,000 words and articulate a central thesis about an important aspect of the Midwest. These works should build upon original research or new interpretations of existing sources and advance a unique argument pertaining to the American Midwest and, when appropriate, rely on proper citations and a footnote apparatus. Authors are advised to review earlier issues of Middle West Review to better understand the type of articles published by the journal.

Photo Essays
These projects should incorporate original photographs of or about the Midwest. We ask contributors to also include a description of each photograph and a brief written explanation (100 to 200 words) of their significance as a body of work.

Book Reviews: Middle West Review is eager to review new books related to the Midwest and to publish review essays which discuss groupings of recent books about the Midwest. Book review inquiries should be directed to Jennifer Stinson: jstinson@svsu.edu

Other types of submissions will be also considered. All contributions will undergo a process of peer review spearheaded by the Middle West Review editors and executive board.

Submissions will either be accepted for publication outright, returned with a request to “revise and resubmit,” or rejected outright. All submissions will benefit from the comments and revisions of the Middle West Review editors and its editorial reviewers.

Stylistic Guidelines
Authors should consult the Chicago Manual of Style as they prepare to submit their manuscripts to Middle West Review. Works should use endnotes in accordance with that manual’s specifications. Please Times New Roman 12-point font. All written submissions should be double-spaced and have one-inch margins on all sides. Manuscripts should be clear, concise, and devoid of jargon. Refrain from using the first person or passive voice. Successful submissions will marshal a strong argument buttressed by adequate evidence, thoughtful analysis, and lucid prose. Furthermore, in keeping with the journal’s mission, manuscripts should use the Midwest as a category of analysis and seek to explain why their project matters for the study of this region.

Please feel free to submit your materials at any time to MWR@USD.edu. You can also send any questions about submissions and other matters to that address.

Editorial Board


Jon K. Lauck, University of South Dakota

Associate Editors

Jeff Wells, University of Nebraska at Kearney

MaryKat Parks Workinger, Ferrysburg, Michigan

Executive Editors

Richard J. Jensen, Montana State University–Billings

Paula Nelson, University of Wisconsin at Platteville

Gregory L. Schneider, Emporia State University

Editorial Board

Stephen Aron, University of California–Los Angeles

William Barillas, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

Megan Birk, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

James F. Brooks, University of California–Santa Barbara

David F. Good, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities

Jeffrey Helgeson, Texas State University

Jason A. Heppler, University of Nebraska Omaha

Wallace A. Hettle, University of Northern Iowa

Michael Innis-Jiménez, University of Alabama

Rebecca J. Kinney, Bowling Green State University

Sara A. Kosiba, Kent State University

Brian Craig Miller, Mission College

Matthew Sanderson, Kansas State University

Andrew Seal, University of New Hampshire

Sharon E. Wood, University of Nebraska Omaha

Eric S. Zimmer, Vantage Point Historical Services

Book Review Editor

Jennifer Stinton, Saginaw Valley State University

Media Review Editor

Adam Ochonicky, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh


Call for Proposals: Sixth Annual Midwestern History Conference

Tuesday, May 12–Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Proposal Submission Deadline: Friday, January 3, 2020 (non-negotiable)

The Midwestern History Association and the Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley State University invite proposals for papers to be delivered at the Sixth Annual Midwestern History Conference, to be held May 12-13, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This conference continues a discussion which has grown significantly over the last five years, at collaborative conferences designed to spark—and sustain—a revival of Midwestern studies in American historiography. Infused with the varieties of original research pursued by scholars from many different career paths and stages, this annual gathering strives to cultivate rigorous historical understanding of a complex, dynamic, and misunderstood region. Last year’s Midwestern History Conference attracted more than 180 participants serving on 50 panels. Plenary speakers at the Midwestern History Conference in previous years have included winners of the Pulitzer, Bancroft, and Parkman Prizes, a National Book Award Finalist, and a past president of the Labor and Working Class History Association.

We welcome papers relating to all aspects of the history of the American Midwest, in all its diversity. At this time, the Midwestern History Association is particularly interested in receiving submissions that use race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, Indigeneity, diaspora, and transnationalism as topics and categories of analysis for exploring Midwestern history.

Panel and roundtable proposals should be a maximum of 1,000 words.

Individual paper proposals are also welcome, and should be a maximum of 300 words.

All proposals must be accompanied by short vitas of the participants. All proposals must also contain contact information for every presenter included in the proposal.

Proposals should be sent to Jakob Bigard of Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center at bigardja@gvsu.edu.

The Midwestern History Association, created in the fall of 2014, is dedicated to rebuilding the field of Midwestern History, which had suffered from decades of neglect and inattention. The MHA advocates for greater attention to Midwestern history among professional historians, seeks to rebuild the infrastructure necessary for the study of the American Midwest, promotes greater academic discourse relating to Midwestern history, and offers prizes to scholars who excel in the study of the Midwest.

To become a member of the Midwestern History Association, please contact MHA President Ted Frantz at efrantz@uindy.edu. Members are added to an email list that provides access to news about upcoming conferences, calls for papers, and other proposals related to Midwestern history. Standard member dues are $40; the student rate is $20. The MHA also gladly accepts donations toward the cost of annual prizes and other expenses, as well.

Inspired by Ralph Hauenstein’s life of leadership and service, and based at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Hauenstein Center is dedicated to raising a community of ethical, effective leaders for the twenty-first century. Launched with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center’s Common Ground Initiative engages leading scholars, writers, and public officials in conversations about the cultural, political, and intellectual challenges that Americans face.

As a proud partner of the Midwestern History Association, the Hauenstein Center is committed to supporting historical scholarship on the American Midwest. Bounded by the Great Plains and Great Lakes; known for agriculture and industry; for irenic countryside and great cities; labeled the Breadbasket, the Heartland, and the Rust Belt; the history of the Midwest – its peoples and places, cultures and conflicts, aspirations and afflictions – is the history of America’s most common ground.



Article Sales
Single articles and full issues from Middle West Review are now available for purchase through Project MUSE.

Sponsoring Society

Middle West Review is affiliated with the Midwestern History Association. Upon joining the MHA, members will receive Middle West Review for free. Join on the MHA page on this website.


Syllabus Builder: Migration

Our Syllabus Builder resource sheets are intended to assist instructors looking for supplemental materials and students seeking ideas for research papers by providing links to a variety of peer-reviewed articles online.

Syllabus Builder: Willa Cather

Our Syllabus Builder resource sheets are intended to assist instructors looking for supplemental materials and students seeking ideas for research papers by providing links to a variety of peer-reviewed articles online.

Syllabus Builder: Social Media

Our Syllabus Builder resource sheets are intended to assist instructors looking for supplemental materials and students seeking ideas for research papers by providing links to a variety of peer-reviewed articles online.

Syllabus Builder: Sports-Related Controversies, Social Issues, and Scandals

Our Syllabus Builder resource sheets are intended to assist instructors looking for supplemental materials and students seeking ideas for research papers by providing links to a variety of peer-reviewed articles online.

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