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Professor Publishes Historical Books

Professor Emeritus John Isch, PhD, DMLC ’58 has written and published three books on the US Dakota War of 1862.

A Battle for Living follows the life of war survivor Lavina Eastlick, beginning with her escape from her home in Shetek MN and ending with her death in 1923 in Alberta, Canada.

The Dakota Trials is an analysis of the 392 military commission trials of the Dakota Indians after the war. It is the largest and most academic of the books, popular with professional and amateur historians doing research on the war.

Eight Days in August, which Isch co-authored with Darla Gebhard, is the best seller of the three. It describes the lives and deaths of the 123 casualties of the US Dakota War in Brown County, as well as the stories of their surviving family members. Many descendants of the victims have purchased the book.

As the 150th anniversary of the Dakota War of 1862 was commemorated this year, Dr. Isch’s books, published by the Minnesota Historical Society, gained a large readership. He also spoke about the war at a dozen different forums, including local historical societies, libraries, and a symposium at Fort Snelling.

Dr. Isch says he has long been interested in history, and his retirement from fulltime teaching at MLC in 2004 afforded him the time to write the books. Another book, yet unnamed, is in the works.

Read more articles in our Fall 2012 InFocus magazine.