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A Sneak Peek

November 22, 2011

Today, the University of Nebraska Press delivered its Spring-Summer 2012 catalog  to the post office. This book cover appears on page 51:

A Thrilling Narrative of Indian Captivity

 Dispatches from the Dakota War 

June 2012

The catalog copy reads:

This edition of A Thrilling Narrative of Indian Captivity rescues from obscurity a crucially important work about the bitterly contested U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Written by Mary Butler Renville, an Anglo woman, with the assistance of her Dakota husband, John Baptiste Renville, A Thrilling Narrative was printed only once as a book in 1863 and has not been republished since. The work details the Renvilles’ experiences as “captives” among their Dakota kin in the Peace Party camp. Their sympathetic portrayal of those Dakota who opposed the war combats the stereotyped and inaccurate view that most Dakota supported the war in 1862. What emerges from the Renvilles’ story is a complex and unique picture of race, gender, and class relations on the Minnesota frontier.

As the state of Minnesota commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Dakota War, this narrative provides fresh insights into the most controversial event in the region’s history. This new, annotated edition includes groundbreaking historical and literary contexts for both the war and the text.

Mary Butler Renville (1830-1895) and John Baptiste Renville (1831-1903) dedicated their lives to education and mission work among the Dakota. Carrie Reber Zeman, an independent historian specializing in the context and historiography of the U.S-Dakota War of 1862, is a consultant for the Minnesota Historical Society. Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola is a professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and author of the The War in Words: Reading the Dakota Conflict through the Captivity Literature (Nebraska, 2009). Dakota scholar Gwen N. Westerman is a professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and director of the annual Native American Literature Symposium.

I love the story in the cover image, a painting by Merlin Little Thunder, and will tell you about it –and why we were so thrilled the UNP agreed to use it –in a future post. 

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 22, 2011 3:56 pm

    Can’t wait! Can’t wait!

  2. Nancy Reber permalink
    November 22, 2011 5:32 pm

    We are so excited to read it…..and so proud of you!
    Nancy & Dad

  3. Liz (idgienater) permalink
    November 26, 2011 11:46 pm

    Yeah! Can’t wait to read it!
    Liz (way out here in Renville)

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