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North Star Country

1998
Author:

Meridel Le Sueur
Afterword by Blanche Gelfant

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A social history of the Upper Midwest by an icon of twentieth-century radicalism.

North Star Country explores country stores and county fairs, labor unions and dusty roads traveled by peddlers and truck drivers, and farms where families toil. Written in 1945 by acclaimed activist and writer Meridel Le Sueur, this unconventional history shines an uncommon light on ordinary people in the Upper Midwest. Le Sueur creates a mosaic from the fabric of everyday life, including newspaper clippings, private letters, diaries, and lyrics from popular songs.

North Star Country is a labor of love that can be set beside Whitman and Sandburg and lose no stature.

Minneapolis Tribune

North Star Country explores country stores and county fairs, labor unions and dusty roads traveled by peddlers and truck drivers, and farms where families toil. Written in 1945 by acclaimed activist and writer Meridel Le Sueur, this unconventional history shines an uncommon light on ordinary people in the Upper Midwest.

In the tradition of James Agee and John Dos Passos, Le Sueur creates a mosaic from the fabric of everyday life, including newspaper clippings, private letters, diaries, and lyrics from popular songs. Each quotation and brief vignette opens a window to an entire lifetime or a way of life. North Star Country highlights the struggles of American Indians and offers a fresh sensibility, untangling the history of the Upper Midwest, sorting it out and returning it to the common people, to common readers.

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Born in Iowa in 1900, Meridel Le Sueur spent her childhood in Kansas and lived most of her life in Minnesota. She was an activist and writer whose books include Salute to Spring (1977) and The Girl (1978). She died in 1996 in St. Paul.

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North Star Country is a labor of love that can be set beside Whitman and Sandburg and lose no stature.

Minneapolis Tribune

Le Sueur writes with fine feeling for the right word. Her characterizations are excellent. She can put drama into a scene, any old scene.

Weekly Book Review