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 5, Issue 2 (Spring 2019)


Making Midwests: Symposium on Midwestern History, Commemorating Five Years of the Middle West Review

Midwestern History: Today and Tomorrow
John E. Miller 

“A People of Persistence”: The Evolving Historiography of Indigenous Midwests
Linda M. Clemmons  

Expanding Our Confines: State History Journals and Midwestern History
Dawn E. Bakken         

Legacy of Dissent: The Civil War’s Contested Meaning in the Midwest
Christopher Phillips    

Thoughts on a Critical Regional History of the Midwest: Examining the Legacies of the Dream of a White Yeoman’s Republic
Jeffrey Helgeson        

Neighbors: A Foundation of Civic Order in the Rural Midwest
Paula M. Nelson        

When the Metadata Doesn’t Help: Constructing Frameworks for an Ambiguous Region
Jenny Barker-Devine  

Mapping the History of America’s Heartland
Kristin Hoganson        

Special Dossier on Fargo (FX, 2014–)

Adam Ochonicky       

Visual Language and Evoking Emotion in the Midwest: The Employment of the Split-Screen in Season Two of Fargo
Ryan Twomey

“People of This World Are Less Inclined to Shoot a Hostess”: The Moral Authority of Fargo’s Midwestern Girlhood
Maggie E. Morris Davis and William L. Morris           

Salesman of the Year: The Confidence Artist in Sinclair Lewis and Season One of Fargo
Paul Gagliardi 

Pregnancy Is Not the Point: Fargo’s Marge, Fargo Season One’s Molly, and Midwestern Feminisms
Laura L. Beadling       

Fargo North: Calgary’s Turn toward Postnational Regionality in FX’s Fargo
Rusty Hatchell

The Use of Quilt Imagery in Fargo’s Advertising: Embracing and Subverting a Midwestern Cultural Symbol
Catherine Kelly         

“Building an Empire State”: From Skyscraper Modernity to the American Midwest
Hyo-Jeong Lee and Walter Metz         

Telling Stories in This “Our Great American Experiment”
Allen H. Redmon        

Book Reviews

Graham A. Peck, Making an Antislavery Nation: Lincoln, Douglas and the Battle over Freedom
Michael Burlingame    

Thomas Bahde, The Life and Death of Gus Reed: A Story of Race and Justice in Illinois during the Civil War and Reconstruction
Jennifer Harbour       

John W. Boyer, The University of Chicago: A History
Kenneth H. Wheeler  

Alan Harper, Waiting for Buddy Guy: Chicago Blues at the Crossroads
Dennis H. Cremin       

Stacey M. Robertson, Hearts Beating for Liberty: Women Abolitionists in the Old Northwest
Lowell J. Soike          

Nancy Warner and David Stark, This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains
Molly P. Rozum      

Steve Werle, Stassen Again
Jeffrey Kolnick          

Randy Boyagoda, Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square
D. G. Hart       

Ginette Aley and J. L. Anderson, eds., Union Heartland: The Midwestern Home Front During the Civil War
Tim Roberts    

Cheryl Unruh, Waiting on the Sky: More Flyover People Essays and Flyover People: Life on the Ground in a Rectangular State
Julie Courtwright        

Jonathan Earle and Diane Mutti Burke, eds., Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border
Brie Swenson Arnold  

Ronald C. Naugle, John J. Montag, and James C. Olson, History of Nebraska
Mark R. Ellis   

Kevin G. W. Olson, Frontier Manhattan: Yankee Settlement to Kansas Town, 1854–1894
Charles Delgadillo      

Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, The Nature of Childhood: An Environmental History of Growing Up in America since 1865
Jason Heppler 

Gretchen Buggeln, The Suburban Church: Modernism and Community in Postwar America
Jeffrey Hubers

Melissa Fraterrigo, Glory Days
Keith Lesmeister         

Keith Lesmeister, We Could’ve Been Happy Here
Melissa Fraterrigo       

Richard Edwards, Jacob K. Friefeld, and Rebecca S. Wingo, eds., Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History
Thomas D. Isern         

Marnie O. Mamminga, On a Clear Night: Essays from the Heartland
Paula M. Nelson         

Marcia Hansen Kraus, George Szell’s Reign
Michael J. Pfeifer       

Michael F. Holt, The Election of 1860: “A Campaign Fraught with Consequences”
Matthew E. Stanley     

Jerry Apps, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History
Kelley Wenig  

Kenneth Whyte, Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times
Ellis W. Hawley          

J. Blake Perkins, Hillbilly Hellraisers: Federal Power and Populist Defiance in the Ozarks
R. Douglas Hurt          

Aaron Cowan, A Nice Place to Visit: Tourism and Urban Revitalization in the Postwar Rustbelt
Jon C. Teaford

James Fuller, Oliver P. Morton and the Politics of Civil War and Reconstruction
Bruce Bigelow

Jon K. Lauck, ed., The Midwestern Moment: The Forgotten World of Early-Twentieth-Century Midwestern Regionalism, 1880–1940
Richard W. Etulain     

Caroline Fraser, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder
John E. Miller 

Book Review Essays

From West to Midwest: Regional Identity and the Civil War
Tom Baker     

Re-Working the Iowa Writers’ Workshop
Zachary Michael Jack 

“Depend on Interior Journeys Taken Anywhere”: Space, Place, and John Berryman’s Minneapolis
Joshua Preston

The Lives of Midwestern Rivers
Michael Allen  

Submissions & Book Reviews

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-Submissions: The Great Migration and Smaller Midwestern Cities
The critical importance of the Great Migration to Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, and Milwaukee has been well-documented. Less understood has been the history and impact of the Great Migration in smaller Midwestern urban spaces such as Peoria, Saginaw, Council Bluffs, Sioux Falls, etc. The Middle West Review, in recognition of the centennial of the Great Migration era, welcomes proposals outlining potential articles on this lesser-known migration for publication in a special issue of the journal. Proposals should be two paragraphs, include a CV, and be sent to MWR@USD.edu by 11/15/19.


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.

Call for Submissions

A special issue of Middle West Review: The Great Migration and Smaller Midwestern Cities. Proposal deadline 11/15/19.

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