Read what others say about "Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range"

Aaron J. Brown’s “Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range” was a critical and commercial success as a debut book published by a new company, Red Step Press of Duluth, in November 2008. “Overburden” won a Northeastern Minnesota Book Award the next year and continues to shape the discussion and spur conversation in Minnesota and beyond.

“A fifth generation Iron Ranger, Brown defies convention. …
Though many of his essays are whimsical (most anyone who has visited northern Minnesota will appreciate the futility of setting up a bug tent in relentless winds), Brown does not shy away from complexities. He finds legitimate beauty in the mining landscape. He explores openness to change (and sometimes lack thereof) as he contemplates the future of the Iron Range, and he acknowledges the benefits of this regional stubborn streak. And he does it all with a self-deprecating wit and sarcastic humor that make you laugh out loud. …
Overburden leaves a lasting impression of a complex place that is much more than a space between the Cities and Up North. Brown reminds us that though the height of mining has passed, the Iron Range has not.”
~ Alissa Johnson, Wilderness News

“This is a collection of wonderful essays written by Aaron Brown about growing up and living on the Iron Range in modern times. His narrative is oftentimes moving and also very funny. He gives both those from the Range and those who have never been north of Duluth the incentive to think about the Iron Range in a new light. He has written a highly enjoyable book that presents a unique understanding of the region, its people, history, and future.”
Judges’ Comments, Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (2008 winner in Creative Nonfiction)

Brown’s writing focuses on how today’s Iron Rangers must bridge the gap between then and now, from the global economy to climate change. ‘It takes a look at how the younger people of the Iron Range will need to adapt to changes’ during the next century, [Laurentian Center for the Arts board member Mary] Reynolds said. ‘He’s an exciting young author.'”
~ Mesabi Daily News

“The works reflect on the Iron Range, not only as a geographical spot on the map, but the Iron Range mentality, a way of life and a way of dealing with life … Interesting concept, overburden. If you’re at all familiar with mining, you know that overburden is the material you have to remove or dig through to get to the valuable ore. In many ways, Aaron’s book strips away the mystery of the Iron Range and explains its people and its ways in light-hearted ways.
~ Paul Wahl, Community Editor, Eden Prairie (Minn.) Sun Newspaper and “Wahl Street Journal” blog

“I love modern memoir, I love Minnesota culture and people writing about place, and I love a book with both depth and humor. Aaron Brown (aka: Minnesota Brown) has it all in his book about growing up and living on today’s range. “

“Brown, a Hibbing native, has been an active journalist and political organizer and brings what he calls “Global Perspective and Iron Range Sensibility” to the blogosphere. This certainly comes through in his writing. Brown recently published Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Ranger. Brown’s book is an effortless read, full of poignant anecdotes of growing up in an economically depressed yet resilient atmosphere. His book serves as a great study of the culture and climate of Iron Range Minnesotan’s and is a must read for any student of Minnesota history and culture.”

“Brown is among a handful of energetic Northland creators who draw energy from their Northland communities and who, in return, sustain those communities. Aaron Brown, in “Overburden,” is both representing the Iron Range to the world outside and calling the Iron Range into the 21st century, to stand up and take its place among the historic communities not just of Minnesota, but perhaps the entire U.S.”
~David Beard, the Reader Weekly of Duluth

“(Brown’s) writing is older and wiser than his twenty-eight years would suggest. He’s also funny. You should read this book.”
~ John Ramos, The Transistor (Duluth, Minn.)

“The Iron Range has found its voice in Aaron Brown. The kid with Coke-bottle glasses who was raised in a trailer next to his parents’ junkyard has grown up to write a ferocious, loving anthem to his home region. Historical, political, deeply personal, “Overburden” is rich with details but sizzles with narrative drive. Oddly enough — or maybe not — Brown, as author, has all the qualities we look for in a great hockey player: guts and heart, vision, skills, and speed. Rangers will see themselves in this book. Outsiders will be stung by envy.”
~Barton Sutter, former poet laureate of Duluth, MPR contributor and author of the award winning regional bestseller “Cold Comfort”

Literary Pick of the Week: Aaron Brown
(By Mary Ann Grossman, St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 8, 2009)

Archive: The Mark Heaney Show with guest host Eric Pusey
(Original air date: Nov. 12, 2008, KTNF Twin Cities)

‘Overburden’ author puts human face on Iron Range
(By Beth Bily, Business North, Oct. 23, 2008)

Aaron Brown’s new book a ‘rally call’ to young Rangers
(By Marie Nitke, Grand Rapids Herald-Review, Oct. 15, 2008)

Business connections
(By Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram, Oct. 15, 2008)

Archive: RealGoodWords interview with Heidi Holtan
(Original air date: Oct. 8, 2008, 91.7 KAXE)

A ‘rally call’ for a prosperous Range future
(By Jeff Warner, Hibbing Daily Tribune, Oct. 12, 2008)

“Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range” is available at independent bookstores across northern Minnesota, most Minnesota Barnes and Noble locations and online at, and available for special order at most stores through Partners distribution system.

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