Focusing on former student radicals at the University of Missouri, the University of Kansas, and Southern Illinois University, Robbie Lieberman presents a side of history that has been neglected in previous studies. Prairie Power is a superb collection of oral histories of Midwestern student New Left activists from the 1960's. Previous literature on 1960s student activism has focused primarily on elite schools on the East and West Coasts. The primarily white male Midwestern student activists were basically looked upon as ""long-haired dope-smoking anarchists"" who were responsible for the downfall of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The author, however, argues that Midwestern students did indeed play an important role in shaping the New Left in the latter half of the decade, and that their efforts were not only significant at the time, but also had a lasting impact on the universities and towns in which they were active. Lieberman begins by explaining the significance of ""prairie power"" and establishing its place in the history of 1960s protest. She then presents the oral histories.
Robbie Lieberman is Professor of History at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She is the author of ""My Song Is My Weapon"": People's Songs, American Communism, and the Politics of Culture and The Strangest Dream: Communism, Anti-Communism, and the U.S. Peace Movement, 1945-1963.