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Speakers 2007-2010

Speakers 2009-2010


Khrushchev: The Man and His Era

Authors William Taubman and Sergei Khrushchev discussed Nikita Khrushchev’s controversial 1959 visit to Roswell Garst's farm in Coon Rapids, where they discussed food production.

Prairie City, Iowa: Three Seasons at Home
Doug Bauer discusses his book Prairie City, Iowa: Three Seasons at Home. Dubbed "a quiet but elegant look at a Midwestern farm community that proves you can go home again", Bauer's nonfiction work give us a glimpse of the same town from two perspectives: that of native and of a stranger.

Editorial Cartoonist Brian Duffy

Award-winning editorial cartoonist Brian Duffy discussed his craft and state and national issues. For 25 years Duffy's cartoons graced the front page of the Des Moines Register.

Cartoonist Brian Duffy

Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town

Methland Bookjacket

Nick Reding discussed his book Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town.  That small town is Oelwein, Iowa, an agricultural community whose members have been gripped by the toxic effects of meth.

Speakers 2008-2009

American Dreamer
Actor Tom Milligan performed American Dreamer, a one-act play that tells the story of Iowa native Henry A. Wallace's life as a geneticist, author, economist, businessman, and politician. The play, written by Cynthia Mercoti, is based on the book American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Henry A. Wallace by John C. Culver and John Hyde.

Tom Milligan Photo

American Gothic

American Gothic

Author Steven Biel and filmmaker Sasha Waters Freyer gave a presentation on Grant Wood's American Gothic, the iconic painting from the Regionalist movement.

Downtown Des Moines' Renaissance

Des Moines Register’s Dave Elbert explained downtown Des Moines' renaissance.

Dave Elbert and Steven Griffith

Speakers 2007-2008
Governor Robert Ray and Kenneth Quinn
Governor Robert Ray and Kenneth Quinn, former U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, spoke about their role in the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees during the Vietnam War.  Over a 20-year period more than 3 million Vietnamese, Lao, and Cambodians were forced out and starved out of their homes. Working with the State Department and President Ford, Ray worked to pass legislation allowing large groups of Tai Dam to resettle in Iowa.

Robert Ray and Kenneth Quinn

Midnight Assassin: A Murder in the Heartland

Midnight Assassin Bookjacket

Authors Patricia Bryan and Thomas Wolf discussed their bookMidnight Assassin: A Murder in the Heartland, a historical account of the murder of Warren county Farmer John Hossack in 1900.

"Midnight Assassin is a real-life murder mystery, to be sure. But it is also, among other things, a study of rural Iowa at the beginning of the 20th century; a commentary on the evolving role of women...This is Iowa history at its best." --Des Moines Register

Little Heathens
Mildred Kalish spoke about her book, Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm during the Great Depression. Voted one of the 10 best books of the year by the New York Times Book ReviewLittle Heathens is full of charm and vivid descriptions of life on the farm, with tales of hard work and simple rewards.

Mildred Kalish Photo