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Feature

Potato City, by Sue Leaf

Book reviews winter 2006

winter 2006

By Gayla Marty

From M, winter 2006

Potato City: Nature, History, and Community in the Age of Sprawl

By Sue Leaf

Oak trees are the stars of this beautiful natural history of the Anoka Sand Plain, an area created by the ancient Mississippi River that stretches from St. Cloud to the St. Croix River. European settlers discovered that potatoes grew perfectly in the sandy soil and--for a brief moment in time--made millions growing them. In a series of essays, Leaf recounts the origins of one potato town, North Branch, and the natural history of oak savanna--home to birds and snakes, victim of fires and tornados and freeways, and beloved landscape that children and citizens are working to restore. Leaf received a doctorate in zoology from the U.

Borealis Books, Minnesota Historical Society, 2004; ISBN 0-87351-507-2; $22.95 hc

Exploring the Boundary Waters

By Daniel Pauly

If winter is your time to start dreaming up a summer trip to the starry night-sky northlands of Minnesota, this trip planner and guide to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a great new resource--for novice and seasoned traveler alike. Permit requirements, choosing maps, cell phones, canoe regulations, bears, dogs, best times of the year to go, the impact of the 1999 blow down...these are just a few of the topics Pauly covers. Then he describes routes from eight entry points, with maps galore. Pauly is a Law School alumnus.

University of Minnesota press, 2005; ISBN 0-8166-4216-8; $22.95 pb

Minnesota's Capitol: A Centennial Story

By Leigh Roethke Foreword by Governor Tim Pawlenty

Celebrate 100 years of Minnesota's remarkable state capitol with this beautiful history. Far more than a coffee-table book, it's chock full of colorful and varied art and photographs, beginning with the story of how St. Paul got the capitol, ending with activities for all ages to learn more about the "marbled palace" and Minnesota history. Roethke is a doctoral student in art history at the Twin Cities campus.

Afton Press, 2005; ISBN 1-890434-67-1; $24.00 hc

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