In a series of often highly personal essays, this book considers the question of regional identity as a useful way of thinking about the history of the American Midwest. The contributors begin with the assumption that Midwesterners have never been as consciously regional as their fellow Americans, east, south, and west. They note the particular absence of the Midwest from the recent revival of interest in American regionalism among both scholars and journalists. Drawing on personal experiences as well as a wide variety of scholarship, the authors consider what it means to be from the Midwest and why Midwesterners have traditionally been less assertive about their regional identity than other Americans.
Andrew L. Cayton and Susan E. Gray, "The Story of the Midwest: An Introduction"
Mary Neth, "Seeing the Midwest with Peripheral Vision: Identities, Narratives, and Region"
Eric Hinderaker, "Liberating Contrivances: Narrative and Identity in Ohio Valley Histories"
John Lauritz Larson, "Pigs in Space, or What Shapes American Regional Cultures?"
Nicole Etcheson, "Barbecued Kentuckians and Six-Foot Texas Rangers: The Construction of Midwestern Identity"
Kathleen N. Conzen, "Piing the Type: Jane Grey Swisshelm and the Contest of Midwestern Regionality"
Kenneth Winkle, "'The Great Body of the Republic': Abraham Lincoln and the Idea of a Middle West"
Susan E. Gray, "Stories Written in the Blood: Race, Identity, and the Middle West"
Andrew R. L. Cayton, "The Anti-region: Place and identity in the History of the American Middle West"
R. Douglas Hurt, "Midwestern Distinctiveness"
Jon Gjerde, "Middleness and the Middle West"
Editors Cayton and Gray, along with R. Douglas Hurt and Jon Gjerde, provide insightful contributions that help solidify the group's and the region's claim to authentic regional status worthy indeed of more such inspired study by similarly well-qualified regional specialists. The Midwest may yet become a contender for true regional rank.~Journal of Illinois History