Steven J. Keillor: The 'other Keillor' stirs the pot in latest history books





As a historian and an academic - and, yes, Garrison Keillor's brother - it took Steven J. Keillor a while to realize that if he was going to write a book on Minnesota's history, it wouldn't be of much good to most average Minnesotans if they didn't take the time to read it, especially if part of the problem is how long it would take them to read it.

"I suggested to the Minnesota Historical Society several years ago that I write a multi-volume set (on Minnesota's history), but, in thinking about it now, it would have been inaccessible to most readers," Keillor said during a recent book tour that brought him to the Crookston Daily Times.

But with Minnesota celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, in other words, its 150th birthday as a state, the adjunct professor at Bethel University with a Ph.D. in history from the University of Minnesota knew there was an opportunity to be capitalized on. He wrote the book and, checking in at just under 300 pages and encompassing only a single volume, it's not only accessible, it's a relatively easy read that even casual history buffs will have no trouble digesting.

"I only had a year to work on it, but that turned out to be an advantage," Keillor explained. "It's written more for the lives of ordinary people, some 'greatest generation' memoirs, and it's more accessible and written in the popular style. I didn't have time to be definitive, and no one would have read that anyway."



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