An Interpretation—Indiana Bicentennial Edition
John Martin, Ray Boomhower, James Madison
Distribution: World
Publication date: 07/04/2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-02346-9
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Indiana: An Interpretation is arguably the best single book about Indiana. Originally published in 1947, John Bartlow Martin's work sparked controversy in Indiana for challenging Hoosiers' assumptions about their history and how they saw themselves and their state. Although the book only covers the period from the Civil War to just after World War II, Martin's interpretation of the Hoosier character, thought, and way of living is still as relevant today as when it was first written. A new afterword by Martin biographer Ray E. Boomhower contextualizes the book for today's readers and reveals why it has become a modern Indiana classic.

Author Bio

John Bartlow Martin (1915–1988) was a journalist and freelance writer who grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from DePauw University. He worked for the Associated Press, was a reporter for the Indianapolis Times, and was the author of numerous articles, stories, and books.

James H. Madison is the Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor of History Emeritus, Indiana University Bloomington. His books include Hoosiers: A New History (IUP, 2014); Eli Lilly: A Life, 1885-1977; Slinging Doughnuts for the Boys: An American Woman in World War II (IUP, 2007); and A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America. Madison serves on the boards of Indiana Humanities and the Indiana Historical Society and is a member of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission.

Ray E. Boomhower is author of John Bartlow Martin: A Voice for the Underdog (IUP, 2015); The People’s Choice: Congressman Jim Jontz of Indiana; and Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary (IUP, 2008). He is Senior Editor of Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, the quarterly magazine of the Indiana Historical Society.


“A lot of things started in Indiana—the automotive industry for one—and Indiana has produced a great many ideas, many wrongheaded and some downright wicked. Viewed one way, this book is a study of Indiana ideas, for threads run through it—the quest for the better life, bigotry, provincial protest. Viewed another, it is a study of an idea itself, the Hoosier, or Indiana, idea. By the 'Indiana idea' I mean the idea of Indiana and the Hoosiers that is held by people elsewhere. It is a conception of Indiana as a pleasant, rather rural place inhabited by people who are confident, prosperous, neighborly, easygoing, tolerant, shrewd.”
 — from the Preface

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Table of Contents

Introduction by James H. Madison

Part One: Crossroads, U.S.A.
Chapter 1 State Fair

Part Two: Beginnings
Chapter 2 By Flatboat and Wagon
Chapter 3 Wilderness Years
Chapter 4 enator Hannegan, Son of the West

Part Three: Growth
Chapter 5 In Civil War
Chapter 6 Revolt on the Farm
Chapter 7 The Gas Boom

Part Four: The Golden Age
Chapter 8 The Best Years, the Best Place
Chapter 9 James Whitcomb Riley and Company
Chapter 10 Leaders for the New Age

Part Five: Voices of Protest
Chapter 11 Eugene V. Debs
Chapter 12 William and Powers Hapgood

Part Six: Four Gentlemen from Indiana
Chapter 13 Prologue: The 1920s
Chapter 14 D. C. Stephenson, Klansman
Chapter 15 Court Asher, Isolationist
Chapter 16 Ned Gorrell, Country Editor
Chapter 17 Ralph F. Gates, Grass-Roots Governor

Part Seven: The Conditions that Prevail
Chapter 18 Troubled Years: The 1930s and 1940s
Chapter 19 Straws in the Hoosier Wind

Afterword by Ray E. Boomhower


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