Monday, August 5, 2013

Get Schooled on Missouri Heritage

I wrinkle my nose as I step outside. School's coming. I can smell it in the air. Pencil shavings, school buses, sack lunches — all of that. Depending on your perspective, it's a wonderful potpourri or a dreadful miasma. What that smell signals to me, though, is the end of leisurely reading.

I begin every summer the same: I vow to read constantly and just plow through everything on my shelf. But then my life always gets in the way somehow. As the dog days of summer wind down, I realize that this year has been no different for me. Soon, the slow but steady onslaught of assignments from all of my classes will overwhelm me, and I'll no longer have time to dip into, say, that Faulkner book I was finally getting around to.

But don't lose hope. The end of summer is nigh, but there's still just enough time to fit in a book or two before the school year really starts. Why not take a look at the Press's Missouri Heritage Reader series? For the whole month of August, all the books in that collection are 30% off. Yo, that's a lot of history. Just visit our Special Offers page and enter the promotional code MHR13 when checking out to receive this special discount. The offer ends September 1, 2013.

Pick up mo' books about MO.

Paris, Tightwad, Peculiar, Neosho, Gasconade, Hannibal, Diamond, Quarantine, Zif, Zig -- these are just a few of the names Margot Ford McMillen covers in Paris, Tightwad, and Peculiar, her lively book on the history of place names in Missouri. The origins behind the names range from humorous to descriptive. For example, Tightwad, Missouri, is said to have been named after a store owner who cheated a mailman out of his rightful watermelon to make an extra fifty cents.

While there are many accessible biographies of important Missouri men, there are few such biographies of Missouri women, which might suggest that they did not count in history. Called to Courage, written by a mother-and-daughter team, helps to correct that misconception by tracing the lives of four women who played important roles in their eras. These women were exceptional because they had the courage to make the best of their abilities, forging trails and breaking the barriers that separated women’s spheres from those of men.

In The Missouri State Penitentiary, Jamie Pamela Rasmussen recounts the long and fascinating history of the place, focusing on the stories of inmates and the struggles by prison officials to provide opportunities for reform while keeping costs down. Tales of prominent prisoners, including Pretty Boy Floyd, Sonny Liston, and James Earl Ray, provide intrigue and insight into the institution's infamous reputation.

Stories from the Heart is a collection of family stories and traditional tales about all walks of African American life. Passed down from grandparents and great-grandparents, they have been lovingly gathered by Gladys Caines Coggswell as she visited Missouri communities and participated in storytelling events over the last two decades. These stories bring to life characters with uncommon courage, strength, will, and wit as they offer insight into African American experiences throughout the state's history. 

 The Missouria people were the first American Indians encountered by European explorers venturing up the Pekitanoui River—the waterway we know as the Missouri. This Indian nation called itself the Nyut^achi, which translates to “People of the River Mouth,” and had been a dominant force in the Louisiana Territory of the pre-colonial era. When first described by the Europeans in 1673, they numbered in the thousands. But by 1804, when William Clark referred to them as “once the most powerful nation on the Missouri River,” fewer than 400 Missouria remained. The state and Missouri River are namesakes of these historic Indians, but little of the tribe’s history is known today. Michael Dickey tells the story of these indigenous Americans in The People of the River’s Mouth.

The one-room schoolhouse may be a thing of the past, but it is the foundation on which modern education rests. Sue Thomas now traces the progress of early education in Missouri, demonstrating how important early schools were in taming the frontier.  A Second Home offers an in-depth and entertaining look at education in the days when pioneers had to postpone schooling for their children until they could provide shelter for their families and clear their fields for crops, while well-to-do families employed tutors or sent their children back east.


For descriptions of all the books in the series--all on sale during the month of August--visit the Special Offers page today!

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