Heartland River: A Cultural and Environmental History of the Big Sioux River Valley

Heartland River cover

ISBN: 978-0-931170-96-6
350 pages, illustrated
Price: $15.00

In his introduction to Heartland River, Midwest/Great Plains historian and son of the Big Sioux River valley Jon K. Lauck, writes, "Recognizing the Big Sioux River is not only a critical exercise in finding a place in an increasingly digital and placeless world, but also an important exertion of cultural identity, a quest for the recognition of a lost watershed in the center of our nation during an era when the coasts dominate our society and the American interior remains neglected."

To order:

In the 19 essays that follow, readers will find a cornucopia of delights and warnings. From "A River Through Time" to "Don't Drink the Water," for example, the writers document early river cultures and bacterial contamination today. The collection's six sections cover almost every conceivable aspect of this 420-mile-long prairie river dividing South Dakota and Iowa and Minnesota and a major tributary to the Missouri River, never before the subject of a book: 

  • Natural History and Indigenous Peoples
  • Explorers, Settlers, Outlaws, and War
  • Writers, Scholars, and Artists
  • Politics
  • Water Quality
  • Personal Reflections

Contributing Authors

  • Ryan Allen
  • John Bicknell
  • Renee M. Boen
  • Jeff Bremer
  • Linda DeVeaux
  • Mark D. Dixon
  • David Evans
  • Sam Herley
  • Matthew Housiaux
  • Jon Hunter
  • Joshua Jeffers
  • W. Carter Johnson
  • Chris Laingen
  • Katie Lamie
  • Matthew J. Ley
  • Kelsey Murray
  • Lance Nixon
  • Dale Potts
  • Greg Rohlf
  • Jim Schaap
  • David L. Swanson
  • Paul Theobald
  • Christopher Vondracek

About the Editor: Recent books by Jon K. Lauck, University of South Dakota, are From Warm Center to Ragged Edge: The Erosion of Midwestern Regionalism, 1920-1965 (2017) and The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History (2013). He is also editor of The Interior Borderlands (2019), winner of a 2020 Midwest Book Award, and co-editor of The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture (2011, 2014, and 2018).