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Ten Days to Win A Free Copy

May 23, 2012

Those of you who’ve been around a while know that almost two years ago I finished the final manuscript for my first book, an annotated new edition of  Mary Butler Renville’s  A Thrilling Narrative of Indian Captivity, out of print since 1863.

2012 is the 150th commemoration of the U.S. Dakota War of 1862. Five years ago, when I was asked to write a book for release this year, I sifted through several possibilities. Mary Butler’s story rose to the top because the little I knew about her at that time fascinated me: she was a white woman, a school teacher born in New York State, who came to America’s western frontier in 1858 to marry a Dakota Indian man named John B. Renville. Together, they survived a war on the Dakota side, as captives of her husband’s relatives. Together, they were eyewitness participants in a  Dakota resistance movement, the Peace Party, that worked from the inside to end the war and to free the civilian hostages.

Most tantalizing to me personally was the fact that Mary and John were Christians who poured out the rest of their lives in pastoral ministry to church of Christian Dakota people exiled from Minnesota in the wake of the war. Was there any relationship between their faith and their life-long pattern of embracing choices bound with adversity?

I decided to let them tell their own story by bringing their 1862 book back into print with annotations making it accessible to a modern general audience. And I added a 100 page Historical Introduction, essentially a dual-biography of John and Mary, to share the answers to the questions that preoccupied my research for three years.

I was honored that the University of Nebraska Press, one of the top secular scholarly presses  in my field, acquired the book because salt doesn’t taste salty until it gets out of the shaker. If you know what I mean :). But that also means the book is priced as a scholarly book (expected to be widely acquired by libraries) despite the fact that I wrote it with a general reader in mind.

So here’s a chance to own a signed copy for free :). Until June 1, 2012, go to the A Thrilling Narrative website, and make a comment on any post and you’ll be entered in a a drawing for a free copy. Details are here. And if you enjoy the history of the midwestern frontier, I hope you’ll read a little and decide the site is worth returning to!

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