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Kansas: The History of the Sunflower State, 1854-2000 Hardcover – October 21, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 552 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (October 21, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700612157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700612154
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,238,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is the best history of Kansas we have ever had. It is not only well-researched and comprehensive but also enlivened by many wry anecdotes and telling quotations, and by a great deal of personal affection. Highly readable and engaging." Donald Worster, Author Of A River Running West: The Life Of John Wesley Powell; "Deeply rooted in Kansans' ways of thinking, alternately iconoclastic and conservative, Miner's treatment is up-to-date, accessible, and distinctly original." Walter T. Nugent, Author Of Into The West: The Story Of Its People; "With his wide-ranging experience in the researching and writing of state and regional history, Miner is uniquely qualified to tackle what some might consider an impossibly difficult task, and he has succeeded in impressive style." Virgil W. Dean, Editor Of Kansas History, Kansas State Historical Society

From the Back Cover

"This is the best history of Kansas we have ever had. It is not only well-researched and comprehensive but also enlivened by many wry anecdotes and telling quotations, and by a great deal of personal affection. Highly readable and engaging."-—Donald Worster, author of A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell

"Deeply rooted in Kansans’ ways of thinking, alternately iconoclastic and conservative, Miner’s treatment is up-to-date, accessible, and distinctly original."-—Walter T. Nugent, author of Into the West: The Story of Its People

"With his wide-ranging experience in the researching and writing of state and regional history, Miner is uniquely qualified to tackle what some might consider an impossibly difficult task, and he has succeeded in impressive style."-—Virgil W. Dean, editor of Kansas History, Kansas State Historical Society

Customer Reviews

A very good read with pictures as well.
Mary I. Outt
Unfortunately, it is so rambling and disorganized that I was not successful.
Kansas Here I Come!
This is the best comprehensive book on Kansas history.
Martin J. Keenan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Martin J. Keenan on November 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is the best comprehensive book on Kansas history. It reminds us that Kansas is important, a pivotal player in American history. A whole variety of movements----the anti-slavery movement, women's suffrage, Prohibition, Populism and other key movements blossomed in Kansas.
While most history books concentrate of when things happened, Miner concentrates on why things happened and what their impact was on America.
Miner's prose is remarkable, but he also allows characters from the past tell their own stories with eye-catching quotations from newspapers, politicians, and common everyday Kansans.

While many consider Kansas backwards, Miner reminds us that Kansas was on the cutting edge of many progressive issues. Always a land of extremes, Kansas also had it's share of reactionary movements.

The whole nation had it's eyes focused on Kansas many times in the past, waiting to see which way the rest of the country would turn on issues like slavery and women's suffrage, with Kansas leading the way.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chris Kettler on February 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Craig Miner's exhaustive volume demolishes the marginalization of Kansas in the writing of American history. Arguing for the importance of regional history, Miner persuades the reader that Kansas is not a "Great American Desert" historically, but a fascinating land, chockful of colorful characters, dramatic events, and great influence on the rest of the United States.
Given the exhaustive nature of the volume, every reader will find something of interest in Miner's history, from agricultural history to political intrigue. Most Kansas histories simply scratch the surface, citing "Bleeding Kansas" and prohibition as everything interesting about Kansas. Not so with Minor's work. The pro-communist Waldo McNutt shares the stage with the anti-communist Gerald K. Winrod in a story that will remind Kansans of the richness of their history and amaze others with what historical treasures have yet be unearthed in the middle of America.
The final chapter demonstrates what separates Miner from many other historians. A finely woven look at Kansas and its future, the author weaves in cultural allusions from Bob Dylan to Reynolds Price in order to understand the struggle for Kansas' identity. This is a rich work for any fan of American history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By luchadorconan on December 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the book. It gives you a good sense of the Kansas identity in all its contradictions. I especially enjoyed reading about Jim Lane, the progressive movement, and Brown v. Topeka Board of Ed.. It was truly fascinating to read about the context of the case and how Kansas had the first lunch-counter sit-ins in Wichita, two years before Greensboro. However, I did find the use of quotes a bit hard to follow. I also lost a little faith in the author and editor(s) due to a number of typos and a glaring mistake --the dates for Robert Dockings' 4 terms as governor. Overall, it was a good read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am not surprised at Mr. Fitzgerald's remarks regarding Craig Miner's fine new work on Kansas. Fitzgerald, who has published two successful books on "ghost towns" (actually "near dead" towns) in Kansas is a popularizer. His books, while fun to read, are by no means scholarly works. Miner's new book is scholarly, but interesting! Robert Richmond's book is a good survey of Kansas history, but is appropriate for a high school audience. Thomas Isern's book, Kansas Land, is written for a junior high audience. Until Miner wrote this book, there has been no survey of Kansas history that was apporpriate for college students and for scholarly study. Richmond's book has suggesstions for further reading at the end of every chapter. Fitzgerald seems to be underestimating Kansans in the way that they have been underestimated for 150 years, as simple, illiterate people of the land. Read Miner's book, and you will soon find out that Kansans are quite the opposite! Miner's book is written with the erudition that Kansans deserve. This is a fine book, a fitting history of Kansas for Kansans, and for others.
Historians will always bicker about each other's work, sometimes jealously, sometimes with clear reason. I cannot say that Mr. Fitzgerald is jealous, but he certainly did not make his argument with clear reason!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kansas Here I Come! on December 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book with the greatest of intentions. Unfortunately, it is so rambling and disorganized that I was not successful.

In reading the other reviews, it is apparent that the focus of this book was on the college level student reader. True, to my knowledge there is nothing out there with the same focus. However, Land of Contrasts, while written at the supposed high school level (though I enjoyed it), is much more organized and a better read.

I did enjoy the Bleeding Kansas section, Civil War impact, and the building boom time period of the 1880's. Then the organization starts falling apart.

I tried hard to like this book, but I couldn't get past the way it jumped around in topical themes to decide whether I really was enjoying it or whether I was missing something somewhere. I decided to put it back on my book shelf and to get over the headache it had created, and then try again another day.

College students, keep looking out there.
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