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University Distinguished Professor writes book about Dakota plains

The latest book by Tom Isern, University Distinguished Professor of history, is scheduled to be unveiled during an author event Thursday, Aug. 2, at 6:30 p.m. at Zandbroz Variety in downtown Fargo.

The 264-page book, “Pacing Dakota,” is a collection of essaysthat take a look at the history and culture of the Great Plains. Isern’s work speaks through an array of voices – scholarly historian, outdoor sportsman, culinary enthusiast, lifelong Lutheran and prairie farmboy. 

“‘Pacing Dakota’ is, first and last, a storytelling book,” said Isern. “The stories are good ones, and they span North Dakota – Bowman to Walhalla. The stories add up to something, too; something having to do with community, citizenship and leadership in our time on the prairies. Finally, the book is sort of a memoir. I've been doing prairie history for 40 years, so I have become part of the story I am telling.”

In his research, Isern visited prairie churches, finding forgotten artifacts and gathering cherished stories from across North Dakota. The book includes 17 photographs.

The book is receiving high praise.

"‘Pacing Dakota’ is the work of a consummate regional historian and firmly-rooted plainsman,” said Elizabeth Jameson, past president of the Western History Association.

"His unapologetic respect for plains life reminds us that we live on a storied, not a storybook, landscape,” said Clay Jenkinson, author of “For the Love of North Dakota.”

The book was published by NDSU Press and is available at a cost of $29.95.

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