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Hoosier History Gets a Facelift

Hoosiers has arrived! The Indiana Historical Bureau now carries James H. Madison’s long-awaited Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana. In anticipation of Indiana’s bicentennial and in light of new scholarship, Madison revised his 1986 The Indiana Way: A State History. Ambitious in scope, Hoosiers reexamines state history “from the Ice Age to the present and from the Ohio River to Lake Michigan” (xii), digging into nuanced and under-analyzed Indiana topics, such as the contentious debates over the Civil War draft.

Madison draws on decades of research, and from the “youthful curiosity” of his history students at Indiana University Bloomington. Through his research, he explores the stories of various Hoosiers, ranging from business owners and politicians to ordinary people, and analyzes underrepresented topics like African Americans on the frontier. In an IU Bloomington Newsroom immediate release, Madison concludes that change in Indiana is “evolutionary, not revolutionary . . . In the last several decades, however, there have been signs of more rapid change.”

Madison’s book provides readers with a unique perspective on Hoosier heritage and contributes to the bibliography of Indiana state history, along with heavyweights like Emma Thornbrough and Donald Carmony. In a NUVO article, Madison contends “I’m an Indiana history missionary — I want to convert the pagans. I’m willing to do whatever it takes, and a book is one step.” Who better than James Madison to usher Indiana’s history into the twenty-first century and through the bicentennial?