PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A new collection of essays about South Dakota’s history comes out this week.

Titled Old Trails and New Roads in South Dakota History, the book published by The Center For Western Studies at Augustana University in Sioux Falls officially arrives Thursday. The book will be the focus of a 1:30 p.m. CT panel discussion during the first day of the center’s 55th annual Dakota Conference.

Historian Jon Lauck of Sioux Falls edited the book and will be the panel’s moderator. Joining him are Ben Jones, director for the South Dakota State Historical Society and the state historian; Karla Abbott, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Augustana faculty member; Tom Isern, a professor of history at North Dakota State University; Jeff Johnson, a professor of history at Providence College; and Patrick Garry, a professor of law at the University of South Dakota.

“South Dakota has a deep and multi-faceted history,” Lauck told KELOLAND News, “and this book explores a great deal of it, including railroads, hunting and fishing, sports, Peter Norbeck, the American Indian Movement, the kinds of food consumed, the Lakota, the German immigrants, and other topics.”

The 384-page book comes in the wake of the 2005 work, A New South Dakota History, that the center’s director, Harry Thompson, edited. Lauck, who is well known in South Dakota historical circles, recently wrote, The Good Country: A History of The American Midwest 1800-1900.

Old Trails and New Roads in South Dakota History includes 13 essays:

  • Pekka Hämäläinen, University of Oxford, on Lakota power in the Northern Plains.
  • H. Roger Grant, Clemson University, on railroads.
  • Christopher R. Laingen, Eastern Illinois University, on weather.
  • John Henris, University of Arkansas-Monticello, on ‘West River’ country.
  • Frank Van Nuys, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, on wildlife and parks.
  • Samantha M. Litty, Europa-Universitat Flensburg, on German-language press.
  • Sara Egge, Centre College, on changing foodways.
  • Paul Higbee, a writer from Spearfish, on sports.
  • Lance Nixon, a journalist from Pierre, on hunting and fishing.
  • Carson Walker, a journalist from Sioux Falls, on the American Indian Movement.
  • Jon D. Schaff, Northern State University, on movies.
  • Isern, on borders.
  • Johnson, on radical tradition.
  • Donald F. Montileaux, an Oglala Lakota ledger artist, drew the book’s cover, “Tasunka Oyate-Horse Nation.”

The book is aimed at educators and the general public, according to the center’s announcement, which also noted that the publication was made possible by “a generous gift from Janet Hovey Johnson (of Sioux Falls) and Reliabank — supporting the research, writing and editing of the essays. Matching gifts toward the costs of photo selection, designing, proofing and printing from other donors guaranteed that the book would be affordable to a wide range of readers.”

The softcover book retails for $18 at the center’s gift shop. It’s also available at the Old Courthouse Museum in Sioux Falls and through Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Lauck, asked if the book might find a home in South Dakota’s public schools as new K-12 social studies standards take effect in two years, replied, “It might be slightly advanced, but high school seniors could definitely read.”