Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana is chock-full of information every Hoosier should check out. Author James H. Madison shares stories from early Indiana inhabitants through the early twenty-first century residents.
Some stories begin with the settlers immigrating to Indiana from the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and the Southern states. These folks brought with them traditions that formed the basis for lifestyles and values that would endure in this new state. They valued individual freedom, democracy, and personal independence.
He covers the various eras of Indiana’s development including the Northwest Territory, the Indiana Territory, Indiana’s statehood in 1816, the evolving pioneer economy, pioneer government and politics, Indiana during the Civil War, living and communities in the late nineteenth-century, Indiana in the early twentieth-century, the Depression and War eras, and some thoughts on twenty-first-century Hoosiers.
I enjoyed his description of the physiographic regions of Indiana. I was not aware that the flat plain from central Indiana up north to the Wabash River, that I usually marvel at while traveling to South Bend, is called the Tipton till plain.
Thinking of my paternal grandfather who immigrated to South Bend in 1903, I especially noted Madison’s discussion of how Studebaker and Oliver companies actively recruited workers in Hungary. By the early twentieth-century Oliver’s South Bend factory was the nation’s sixth-largest manufacturer of farm machinery, and Studebaker was one of the largest carriage and wagon manufacturers in the country before venturing into automobiles.
Madison tells the story of Indiana’s becoming one of the leaders in auto manufacturing tracing the progression from Elwood Haynes’ first drive in 1894 all the way to today’s automotive plants across the state.
Madison’s in-depth research and knowledge paints you into the picture of our growing Hoosier legacy. I believe Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana makes an excellent gift for the holiday season or for next year’s Indiana Bicentennial. I encourage you to pick up a copy and enjoy our Hoosier roots.
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