Julie CarrJul 14, 2023
Mud, Blood, and Ghosts
Populism, Eugenics, and Spiritualism in the American West
University of Nebraska Press 2023
In Mud, Blood, and Ghosts: Populism, Eugenics, and Spiritualism in the American West (U Nebraska Press, 2023), University of Colorado poet and English professor Julie Carr uses family legend and lore to tell a history of the American West at the turn of the twentieth century. By tracking the story of her larger-than-life great-grandfather, the late nineteenth century People's Party politician and Nebraska settler Omer Kem, Carr explains her family's ties to systems and trends critical to understanding the American past, including race, colonialism, capitalism, and religion. Told from a unique voice all her own, Carr's narrative seamlessly ties together family, local, and national stories into a tale of American West and the region's politics which speaks clearly to the political divides in today's America. Mud, Blood, and Ghosts shows how the spirits of the past linger shockingly close at hand, even in the present day.
Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.