First impressions of the political landscape in South Dakota tend towards an assumption of hard-line conservatism, and yet such a conclusion barely scratches the surface of what constitutes political tradition in the Mount Rushmore State. Editors Jon K. Lauck, John E. Miller, and Donald C. Simmons, Jr., have drawn together twelve essays on disparate topics in order to consider the state's underlying political culture. Each essay addresses an aspect of history, politics, or art, subtly exposing the contradictory nature of South Dakotans and elucidating the many elements that comprise the larger political tradition. Scholars from around the country consider topics such as war and peace, literature, environmentalism, the American Indian Movement, left-wing and liberal politics, immigration, and defeat. With each essay, the discussion builds upon itself, allowing the reader to develop a fuller sense of where South Dakota fits into the growing study of political culture in modern society.
Jon K. Lauck grew up in South Dakota, USA and earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Iowa, USA and his law degree from the University of Minnesota, USA. He is interested in the history, culture, economics, and politics of the American Midwest and in American and European history more generally. John E. Miller is professor emeritus of history at South Dakota State University, USA and one of the foremost experts on South Dakota history. His books include Looking for History on Highway 14 and Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Woman Behind the Legend. Donald C. Simmons Jr. is president and founder of The Obion Group, a leadership consulting firm. His best-known popular work, Confederate Settlements in British Honduras (released by McFarland and Company in 2001), resulted in an appearance on C-SPAN Book TV, but he is most recognized in academic circles as producer of the public television documentary Hungry for Green: Feeding the World Sustainably, which premiered at Harvard University Medical Schools Center for Health and the Global Environment in 2009 and aired nationally. Simmons also edited and coauthored the textbook Leadership and Service: An Introduction (Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2008), with Senator George McGovern and Dan Gaken. He attended Sioux Falls Seminary and holds a certificate of ministry from Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, USA. Simmons remains actively involved in church planting and prison ministry, as well as international mission programs in Kenya and Belize.
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