News & Events
Book Talk and Signing with Tom Isern
Tom Isern, author and professor at NDSU, will be at the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum - Frontier Room on December 8th to discuss his new book, Pacing Dakota.
It might have been called My Life on the Plains, but that title was taken. Pacing Dakota came together as a collection of sketches, drawing on radio scripts written and read weekly on statewide public radio (Prairie Public) under the title, Plains Folk. Somewhere in the process, as the author graduated from writing transitions to adding reflections, looking back on forty years as a working historian and regional author, the work crossed the line into the domain of memoir. The "prairie historian" in Pacing Dakota emerges as this generation's leading interpreter of historical experience and the sense of place in his home country. The narrative transitions from the close confines of historical archives into the prairie landscapes of the northern plains. It speaks with the mingled voices of scholarly historian, outdoor sportsman, culinary enthusiast, lifelong Lutheran, and prairie farmboy. The author prowls prairie churches, finds forgotten artifacts, and gathers cherished stories from Williston to Wahpeton and points beyond. He situates his encounters along the way into the canon of literary and historical writing on the prairies. In the end, he speaks for a generation born and raised on the Great Plains of North America and committed to making a good life in this place.
Tom Isern is Professor of History & University Distinguished Professor, North Dakota State University. A specialist in the history of the Great Plains, he is the author or co-author of six previous books about history and life in the region. Isern is well known in the region for his weekly feature, Plains Folk, on Prairie Public radio. He is married to historian and editor Suzzanne Kelley.