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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 5, 2008

Robert B. Mitchell reads for WSUI 'Live from Prairie Lights' Sept. 19

Historian Robert B. Mitchell will read from "Skirmisher: The Life, Times and Political Career of James B. Weaver" at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen live via the University of Iowa Writing University Web site:

The event will be recorded for broadcast on Iowa Public Radio's "Live from Prairie Lights" series. Hour-long "Live from Prairie Lights" productions, hosted by WSUI's Julie Englander, air at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays on WSUI-AM 910 in Iowa City and WOI-AM 640 in Ames.

James Baird Weaver of Bloomfield, Iowa, served three terms in Congress and ran twice for President of the United States: in 1880 for the Greenback Party and in 1892 on the Populist Party ticket. In 1892, Weaver won four states and 22 electoral votes.

Originally a Republican, Weaver left the party because he felt they were under control of big business at the expense of small business and farmers. He was an abolitionist who also favored the eight-hour workday, government ownership of the railroads, the direct election of senators and the graduated income tax.

"Skirmisher" is the first full-length biography of Weaver to be published since 1910.

Michael Kazin, author of "A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan," wrote, "This is an insightful, splendidly researched study about an unjustly forgotten veteran of the civil and political wars that shaped 19th-century America. One of the most significant agrarian reformers in U.S. history, and the only one to win electoral votes, James Weaver has long deserved a biography. Robert Mitchell has done him proud."

Mitchell, a graduate of Grinnell College, is an assistant editor with the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jan Weissmiller, Prairie Lights, 319-337-2681,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073,