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University of Iowa News Release


April 3, 2008

UI Press republishes out-of-print books by Swander and Bergman

The University of Iowa Press has obtained the rights to two popular books that have been out of print -- "Out of This World" by Mary Swander and "Iowa History Reader" edited by Marvin Bergman -- making them once again available to readers in new editions.

"Out of This World" will become available April 21 and "Iowa History Reader" will become available on April 25.

When a life-threatening allergic illness required that she eat only organically grown food, UI Writers' Workshop alumna Swander built a new life in a former one-room Iowa schoolhouse in the middle of the largest Amish community west of the Mississippi. In her memoir, which follows the course of a farmer's year, she writes from the well-named Fairview School to share the radical transformation of her life.

In rural Kalona Swander discovered new strength and self-reliance along with a community of hardworking and hospitable neighbors. Raising goats and poultry, participating in barn raisings and auctions, protecting her garden from a plague of grasshoppers, and creating a living crèche at Christmastime -- all the while laughing at her attempts to wrestle with the pioneer challenges of Midwestern winters and summers -- she explored what it meant to be a lone physical and spiritual homesteader at the end of the 20th century.

Swander is a faculty member at Iowa State University and a regular commentator on Iowa Public Radio. Her books include "The Desert Pilgrim," "Heaven-and-Earth House," "Driving the Body Back" and "Parsnips in the Snow."

Bergman drew on his years of editing the Annals of Iowa to gather contributors who cross disciplines, model the craft of writing a historical essay, cover more than one significant topic and, above all, interpret history rather than recite it. In his preface to this new printing he calls attention to publications that begin to fill the gaps noted in the 1996 edition.

Rather than survey the basic facts, the essayists engage readers in the actual making of Iowa's history by trying to understand the meaning of its past. By providing comprehensive accounts of topics in Iowa history that embrace the broader historiographical issues in American history -- including the nature of Progressivism and Populism, the debate over whether women's expanded roles in wartime carried over to postwar periods, and the place of quantification in history -- the essayists contribute to debates at the national level and at the same time interpret Iowa's distinctive culture.

Contributors to "Iowa History Reader" include Allan C. Bogue, Robert Cook, Robert R. Dykstra, Deborah Fink, Mark Freidberger, Michael D. Green, Richard Jensen, John Lauritz Larson, Elizabeth D. Leonard, James C. Mohr, Thomas J. Morain, Jeffrey Ostler, Glenda Riley, Dorothy Schwieder, Shelton Stromquist, Joseph F. Wall and Hugh Winebrenner.

Bergman received his doctorate in American religious history from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He has edited the Annals of Iowa for the State Historical Society of Iowa since 1987, and with Shelton Stromquist he edited "Unionizing the Jungles: Labor and Community in the Twentieth-Century Meatpacking Industry."

"Out of This World" and "Iowa History Reader" will be available for sale at bookstores or directly from the University of Iowa Press by phone at 800-621-2736 or online at Customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, or Africa may order from the Eurospan Group online at

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Allison Thomas, UI Press,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell),