Monday, February 24, 2014

New Book Traces History of the Dakotas Along Highway 83

Award-winning author Stew Magnuson Feb. 24 released The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Route 83: The Dakotas, a nonfiction travel-history book that uncovers stories found along the road that bisects the states from north to south.
Descending 1,885 miles straight down the center of the United States from Westhope, North Dakota, to Brownsville, Texas, is U.S. 83, one of the oldest and longest of the federal highways that hasn’t been replaced by an Interstate.
Magnuson takes readers on a trip down the road and through the history of the Northern Great Plains. The famous and the forgotten are found in stories he discovers in the Dakotas.
Explorers Pierre de la Vérendrye, Lewis & Clark, Jedediah Smith, are all encountered along with Chief Spotted Tail of the Brulé Lakotas, TV sensation Lawrence Welk and rodeo superstar Casey Tibbs. Cold-blooded killers, homesteaders, ballplayers and rail barons from yesteryear meet today’s truckers, oil rig workers and ghost towns inhabitants as Magnuson launches his own Voyage of Discovery in a beat-up 1999 Mazda Protégé.
Timed for release during the states’ 125th anniversary year, The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Route 83: The Dakotas, is a love poem to the natural beauty of the prairie and the fascinating people—both past and present—found along the road.
Says Magnuson: “Highway 83 is itself interesting — and the scenery is beautiful — but the it was the people I met that made this a fascinating journey. Everyone and every town has a story to tell, I discovered.”
Magnuson will go on a book tour along Highway 83 from April 19 to 26.
Magnuson administers the Fans of U.S. Route 83 page on Facebook, which now has more than 1,000 members. He also writes the Highway 83 Chronicles blog. He also set up the U.S. Route 83 Travel page, which gives tips to those who are interested in taking a trip on the road.
Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Stew Magnuson is the author of The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder: And Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns—Nebraska Center of the Book’s 2009 nonfiction book of the year, ForeWord Magazine’s bronze medal winner for regional nonfiction and finalist for the 2008 Great Plains Book of the Year. He also penned Wounded Knee 1973: Still Bleeding, an account of the controversial 2012 Dakota Conference at Augustana College, in Sioux Falls, S.D., where members of the American Indian Movement squared off against retired FBI agents.
The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Route 83: The Dakotas is available at in paperback and eBook formats. It is part one of his Highway 83 Chronicles. The Nebraska-Kansas and Oklahoma-Texas books will be released in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

To join the Fans of U.S. Route 83 group on Facebook, CLICK HERE. And check out the U.S. Route 83 Travel page at

 Stew Magnuson (stewmag (a) is the author of Wounded Knee 1973: Still Bleeding: The American Indian Movement, the FBI, and their Fight to Bury the Sins of the Past published by the Now & Then Reader. It is available as an eBook on Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iTunes. Buy it in paperback on Amazon or bookstores such as Plains Trading Company Booksellers, in Valentine, Neb., on Highway 83.

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