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Book Review: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

I know we’re only 60 days into the year. But last night I read one of the most important books of 2017.

Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century is a slim yet essential volume using history to outline methods of protecting American democracy. Even prior to the election “fascism” became a […]

Immigration discrimination is an American tradition

Millions of us are appalled by Trump’s Muslim refugee ban. I’m equally appalled that so many of those who claim “a war on Christmas” is proof of religious persecution see no problem with this ban. Yet the fact is there’s a long history of discrimination in American immigration policy. As Savannah Cox recently wrote:

Denying […]

South Dakota’s socialist experiment

The last couple months revealed a gap in my education: South Dakota history. Granted, I know the basics — the Homestead Act, sod homes, Indian tribes and treaties, the railroads, agriculture, the Dirty Thirties, meatpacking, credit cards. But I’ve never had a South Dakota history course and it became apparent when I learned South Dakota […]

From 19th Century Russian terrorist to South Dakota college professor

As an initial aside, this post embodies what one can learn learn from just one sentence in a book.

While reading The Romanovs, a nearly 800 page tome on the dynasty that ruled Russia for four centuries, there was a paragraph on page 465 about the head of the Narodnaya Volyaan (“People’s Will”), a terrorist […]

The start of the paperback revolution

Paperback books helped create my lifelong reading addiction, in large part because they were affordable. I have fond memories of a small bookstore in an alley behind the Post Office in my hometown. Although the location might suggest a bawdy stock, it was actually akin to the small bookstores we would later see in shopping […]

Yielding our freedoms: The afterpiece

This series has focused on how actions by the South Dakota Council of Defense during World War I flouted both freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Yet it’s easy to have nearly 100 years of hindsight. I’m not denouncing everything the Council and its members did. They undoubtedly were doing what they thought best […]