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Draining the Great Oasis: An Environmental History of Murray County, Minnesota

Edited by Anthony J. Amato, Janet Timmerman, and Joseph A. Amato

DrGOasisFrontDrGOasisBack Draining the Great Oasis is a collection of essays on the environmental history of Murray County, Minnesota. Located on the tall grass prairie of southwestern Minnesota, Murray County is a land of contrasts. It is composed of floodplains, river valleys, wetlands, and uplands formed by glaciation. With wet and dry seasons and cycles, climatic extremes characterize it. In the last hundred and fifty years this land has been bent and shaped to serve commercial agriculture and an industrial nation. In twenty unique essays, fifteen authors from different disciplines and perspectives examine this transformation. They probe the multifaceted relationship between human beings and their environment, examining topics ranging from weed control and horse ecology to wetlands and recreational landscapes.

These essays include:

  • A Wet and Dry Landscape by Anthony Amato
  • Crops and Land Use by Geoff Cunfer
  • Geology by Thomas Dilley
  • Soils by Neal Eash
  • Wetlands by Doug Spieles
  • Mammals by Elizabeth Desy
  • Birds by Janet Timmerman
  • Birding by Robert Janssen
  • Native Prairie by Janet Timmerman
  • Lake Shetek by Beth Spieles
  • Draining the Great Oasis by Janet Timmerman
  • Ditches by Geoff Cunfer and Dennis Guse
  • Roads by Joseph Amato
  • Horse Ecology by Geoff Cunfer
  • Barns by David Pichaske
  • Weeds by Nancy Brown
  • Hogville by Lisa Gerber
  • Crazy Acres by Richard Vanderziel
  • A Home Lake by Jim Muchlinski
  • Bibliographic Essay and Annotated Bibliography by Beth Spieles

Like other new environmental microhistories, Draining the Great Oasis captures the nuances and detail of a specific place, while addressing the broader experiences of southwestern Minnesota and other North American prairie regions where great ecological transformations have accompanied large-scale agriculture. Draining the Great Oasis offers new themes and approaches that will stimulate both environmental and local history.

Crossings Press, 2001

$25.00 per individual copy
$15.00 per book for orders of five or more copies

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