Each chapter of this innovative state history focuses on a telling detail, a revealing incident, or a meaningful issue that illuminates a larger event, social trends, or politics during a period in Minnesota's history. A three-act play about Minnesota's statehood vividly depicts the competing interests of Natives, traders, and politicians who lived in the same territory but moved in different worlds. Oranges are the focal point of a chapter about railroads and transportation: how did a St Paul family manage to celebrate their 1898 Christmas with fruit that grew no closer than 1,500 miles from their home? A photo essay brings to life three communities of the 1920s, seen through the lenses of local and itinerant photographers. The much-sought state fish helps to explain the new Minnesota, where pan-fried walleye and walleye quesadillas coexist on the same north woods menu. In Creating Minnesota Atkins invites readers to experience the texture of people's lives through the decades, offering a fascinating and unparalleled approach to the history of our state.
Annette Atkins is professor of history at St John's University/College of St Benedict in Minnesota.