Introducing a new guest blogger series

Today I’m introducing a guest blogger to add some variety and perspective to the content here. I met Jeff Manuel at a book event in the Twin Cities and he’s been sending me some fascinating reading material ever since. He explains the series of posts he’ll be sharing here in coming weeks:

Hello, Minnesota Browners! I want to thank Aaron for letting me contribute to the blog. As someone who is interested in the Iron Range’s past and future, I’ve enjoyed reading the blog for a long time. I’m happy to join the conversation.

You’re probably wondering who this is if it’s not Aaron. I’m a historian and college professor who has spent a lot of time reading, thinking, and writing about the Iron Range and where it fits in the larger sweep of recent American history. My interest in industrial regions like the Iron Range started a decade ago when I went to Youngstown, Ohio, to see what happened after Youngstown’s steel mills shut down in the late 1970s. As a history graduate student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, I wrote my dissertation on the Range’s recent history. I now teach history at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and live in St. Louis, Missouri. But I’m still thinking and writing about the Iron Range, especially as I work to revise my dissertation into a book about the Iron Range’s recent history.

I hope to add my two cents to Minnesota Brown from time to time. If it helps, you can think of me as a foreign correspondent for the blog–a chance to think about what the Iron Range looks like from the perspective of a sympathetic outsider. I welcome your questions, comments, and any ideas. Feel free to email at

Yes, I’m taking a hyperlocal blog trying to expand to a new audience and adding an additional voice discussing the impact of mining on culture. Hey, Garrison Keillor gets to go on and on about morel mushrooms. Is that better? At least this involves trucks and giant shovels. Those things are cool, to paraphrase my preschool boys.


  1. Hyperlocality is why I read this.

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