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Professor Thomas D. Isern to Present on New Book, Pacing Dakota

The Pioneer Trails Regional Museum, in Bowman, ND, will host the author of Pacing Dakota, Professor Thomas D. Isern, for a book talk and autograph session on Saturday, December 8th, at 3 pm. Prof. Isern’s presentation will include a reading and an original song based on the stories in the book.

Isern is Professor of History and University Distinguished Professor at North Dakota State University, where he has served since 1992. Pacing Dakota is his seventh book. The publisher of the work is North Dakota State University Press (ndsupress.org).

Pacing Dakota was published in July by NDSU Press and has received enthusiastic response from readers and reviewers alike. “Dr. Isern is no stranger to the prairie,” observes the High Plains Reader; he searches out “real things in real places” and makes it his habit “to follow the road less travelled.”

Betsy Jameson, former president of the Western History Association, says, “Pacing Dakota is the work of a consummate regional historian and firmly-rooted plainsman. The work is sensate, literate, socially rooted, and thoughtfully situated. It is a book to savor.”

People across the northern plains know Isern for his voice in the radio feature, Plains Folk, heard weekly on Prairie Public. Pacing Dakota came together as a collection of sketches, drawing on radio scripts written to read on radio. Somewhere in the process, as the author wrote transitions and added reflections, looking back on forty years as a working historian and regional author, the work crossed the line into the domain of memoir. The narrative transitions from the close confines of historical archives into the prairie landscapes of the northern plains. It speaks with the mingled voices of scholarly historian, outdoor sportsman, culinary enthusiast, lifelong Lutheran, and prairie farmboy.

“This book might have been called My Life on the Plains,” Isern jokes, “but that title was taken! I am a storyteller. The stories in Pacing Dakota come from all over the state. But I’m sixty-six years old, I have lived all my life on the plains, and so I am part of the story, too.”

Pacing Dakota is available locally from Pioneer Trails Regional Museum. The book also can be purchased from independent bookstores across the region, direct from NDSU Press at ndsupress.org, or from other online booksellers.

Prof. Isern is available for interviews: email isern@plainsfolk.com, or mobile 701-799-2942