One sure thing about history – there’s a lot of it – and so, by default, there’s a lot written about it. We include reviews of the latest Minnesota and/or Ramsey County history books in our quarterly magazine, Ramsey County History, but sometimes we have more reviews than we have room to print in the thirty-two-page publication.

Don’t worry. We will continue to share book reviews in the magazine, but as we move forward, one of our goals is to increase our online presence, so if you’re looking to read even more reviews, hop online and check this page to see what’s new – and there’s always something new about all things old.

We have many talented historians, academics, and lay people who can’t get enough of history and have followed their curiosity, interests, and hobbies down paths that lead them to write about their research and the stories they’ve encountered along the way. And we have other historians, academics, and lay readers who enjoy reading these tomes and offering thoughtful critiques.

So enjoy the reviews we have here. Chances are they’ll lead you to stop by Ramsey County Historical Society to purchase the actual book. We have many of the books available for sale at the Landmark Center. Learn more at If you are aware of a recent history book we have not featured, let us know. We’ll follow up. Also, if you are an avid reader and a writer and are interested in volunteering to review books for us, email us at  Include your name and contact information, your areas of historical interested (i.e.: transportation, education, general history, cultural communities, music, etc.) and a little bit about your writing background, and we’ll add you to our list.

Book Reviews

60 Stories of Maplewood History
Bob Jensen, editor, with Pete Boulay, Nicole DeGuzman, Elaine Ekstedt, Virginia Gaynor, Frank Gilbertson, Brenda Rudberg, Chris Soutter, and Mike Steinmetz

Maplewood, MN: Maplewood Area Historical Society, 2017
125 pages
Reviewed by John M. Lindley
Full Review Page

The Crusade for Forgotten Souls: Reforming Minnesota’s Mental Institutions, 1946–1954
Author: Susan Bartlett Foote
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018
312 pages
Reviewed by Gary Gleason
Full Review Page

Diesel Heart: An Autobiography
Author: Melvin Whitfield Carter, Jr.
St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2019
256 pages
Reviewed by Mary Lethert Wingerd
Full Review Page

Great Northern Iron: James J. Hill’s 109-Year Mining Trust
Author: James A. Stolpestad
St. Paul, MN: Ramsey County Historical Society, 2020
348 pages
Reviewed in Mining Engineering journal (December 2020). Reprinted with permission.
Full Review Page

Images of America: Downtown St. Paul
Author: Iric Nathanson

Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2019;128 pages; soft cover; photos; $22.95
Reviewed by Bob Muschewske
Full Review Page

The Life of Swede Hollow: a pictorial history
Angela DuPaul and Karin DuPaul
St. Paul, MN: Friends of Swede Hollow
115 pages
Reviewed by Bob Muschewske
Full Review Page

A Life on the Middle West’s Never-Ending Frontier
Author: Willard L. “Sandy” Boyd
Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2019
394 pages
Reviewed by Meredith Cummings
Full Review Page

Massacre in Minnesota: The Dakota War of 1862, the Most Violent Ethnic Conflict in American History
Author: Gary Clayton Anderson
Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2019
384 pages
Reviewed by Mary Lethert Wingerd
Full Review Page

Metropolitan Dreams: The Scandalous Rise and Stunning Fall of a Minneapolis Masterpiece
Author: Larry Millett

Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018
248 pages; hardcover/cloth jacket; 140 b&w photos; $29.95
Reviewed by Alan K. Lathrop
Full Review Page

Minnesota’s Geologist: The Life of Newton Horace Winchell
Sue Leaf
Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2020
280 pages
Reviewed by Paul Nelson
Full Review Page

Our Minnesota State Capitol: From Groundbreaking through Restoration
or: Denis P. Gardner
Foreword by Former Governor Mark Dayton
St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2017
104 pages; softcover; 70 color and b&w illustrations; $19.95
Reviewed by Alan K. Lathrop

Full Review Page

The Scott Collection: Minnesota’s Black Community in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s
Author: Walter R. Scott Sr.

Introduction by Anthony R. Scott; Preface by Chaunda L. Scott; Foreword by William D. Green
St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2018
500 pages; softcover; 500 photos; $29.95
Published previously under separate titles, 1956, 1968, and 1976
Reviewed by Earl Ross
Full Review Page

Swede Hollow: A Novel
Author: Ola Larsmo; Translated by Tiina Nunnally
Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, Translation copyright 2019
310 pages
Reviewed by Laurie Murphy
Full Review Page

Walk on the East Side: Pictures and Stories from Residents of St. Paul’s East Side
Hans Mouritzen and Carol MacAllister
St. Paul: East Side Elders, 2017
28 pages; color photos; $20.00; Available from
Reviewed by John M. Lindley
Full Review Page