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Iowa: The Definitive Collection


Iowa, the Definitive Collection gathers for student, teacher, researcher, and leisure reader alike a rich harvest of Iowa lore as told by a bevy of its most famous and forgotten voices—Iowa history as made and told by Iowans, for Iowans. Totaling over 500 browsable pages and nearly 100 highly readable classic and contemporary selections, this mammoth compendium of Iowa history, literature, and lore captures the Hawkeye State more diversely and more comprehensively than ever before. Here is a book—a big book—of Iowa readings of every conceivable kind (campaign platforms, creeds, diaries, editorials, ethnographic studies, fictions, government documents, history, humor, journalism, legal opinions, letters, memoirs, pamphlets, speeches, travel narratives, and more) and of every historical vintage (from Black Hawk’s lament on being ordered to move west to “Iowa” in 1831 to Iowa writer-anthropologist Robert Leonard’s freshly-penned roll call of the many different Iowans he has known). Between these covers, world-famous sons and daughters of Iowa, including Carrie Chapman Catt, Bob Feller, Susan Glaspell, Herbert Hoover, Ted Kooser, Aldo Leopold, Glenn Miller, Wallace Stegner, Henry Wallace, Grant Wood, and many others join a chorus of forgotten or neglected native greats to tell the story of their home state as only Iowans can tell it.

“Zachary Michael Jack is quite right when he says that “Iowa gets under your skin”—more importantly, his new book gets into your head. From the melancholic memoir of Chief Black Hawk to the poetic prose of Ted Kooser. Beautifully designed, this book is nothing short of a hymn to the Hawkeye State. It belongs in every public library and classroom in Iowa.”—Timothy Walch, Director of the Hoover Presidential Library & Trustee of the State Historical Society of Iowa

“So packed with the many dimensions of the Iowa character and experience that I hardly know how to describe it. A great Olla Podrida. A trip around the state, border to border, farm to market, town and gown, past to present. Natives and newcomers both should love it.”—Robert Sayre, Professor Emeritus, University of Iowa, American Literature and American Studies

“A historical, vivid and heartfelt reciting of the not-to-be-forgotten heros/heroines and their efforts and sacrifices to make the land between two rivers into the Iowa we all know.”—Cyndi Pederson, Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

“This is a rich anthology to sample, savor, and share with friends and family. It captures Iowa and its essence—the land and the climate, the people, the history, and the spirit—through an eclectic assortment of Iowans writing about their state and their experience. A must-read for all Iowans.”—Bill Friedricks, Professor of History, Simpson College, Iowa Public Historian

“Every Iowan can learn something from this collection. Thanks to Mr. Jack for an excellent Iowa history resource.”—Susan Craig, Library Director, Iowa City Public Library

Hailing from the Jack family Iowa Heritage Farm founded in 1855, Zachary Michael Jack is the author or editor of many books, including several on his native state’s history and culture, among them Letters to a Young Iowan (2007) and Uncle Henry Wallace: Letters to Farm Families (2008). A regular columnist for Iowa Source, a reviewer for the Annals of Iowa, and the founder-director of the Iowa School of Lost Arts for children, Zachary has served as a keynote or feature speaker at the Iowa Studies Forum, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, UNI’s Hearst Center for the Arts, and at the Irving B. Weber Chautauqua Series. A former Iowa public librarian and newspaper section editor, Zachary now teaches courses in writing, rural and urban history, and place studies at North Central College, and continues to call home his eastern Iowa farm.