Suggested Reading List
Stories in Log and Stone
Author: David R. Benson
Description: The Legacy of the New Deal in MN State Parks
Devil's Lake, Wisconsin and the Civilian Conservation Corps
Author: Robert Moore
Description: Thousands of young men embarked on the adventure of a lifetime when they joined the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. Service at Wisconsin's popular state park offered notoriety absent at most camp assignments. While most of the CCC work around the country was in remote forests and farmlands, at Devil's Lake tourists could view CCC project activity each day, forging that labor into an essential part of the park experience. Historian Robert J. Moore interviews veterans and mines the archives to preserve this legacy so that the gasps of wonder at nature's marvels remain mixed with respect for the men who helped bring them forth.
I Gave My Heart to Know This
Author: Ellen Baker
Description: Ellen Baker is beloved for crafting intimate domestic stories that resonate deeply with readers. In I Gave My Heart to Know This, the award-winning author returns with a sweeping multigenerational saga of the searing power of war, memory, friendship, and family.
In January 1944, Grace Anderson, Lena Maki, and Lena’s mother, Violet, have joined the growing ranks of women working for the war effort. Though they find satisfaction in their jobs at a Wisconsin shipyard, it isn’t enough to distract them from the anxieties of wartime, or their fears for the men they love: Lena’s twin brother, Derrick, and Grace’s high school sweetheart, Alex. When shattering news arrives from the front, the lives of the three women are pitched into turmoil. As one is pushed to the brink of madness, the others are forced into choices they couldn’t have imagined—and their lives will never be the same.
More than five decades later, Violet’s great-granddaughter, Julia, returns to the small farmhouse where Violet and Lena once lived. Listless from her own recent tragedy, Julia begins to uncover the dark secrets that shattered her family, eventually learning that redemption—and love—can be found in the most unexpected places.
Beautifully written and profoundly moving, I Gave My Heart to Know This is a riveting story of loyalties held and sacred bonds broken; crushing loss and enduring dreams; and what it takes—and what it means—to find the way home.
The Soldiers of Poverty
Author: Mary J. Schueller
Description: This creative nonfiction story begins in Virden, Illinois and follows the factual events of the author's father, Mike Kerkes, before joining the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The narrative continues with Mike's friendships and his work in the hewing yard at Giant City Park in rural southern Illinois. After a reorganization of CCC manpower Mike is transferred to Company D-692 as a lead carpenter to help develop Copper Falls State Park in northern Wisconsin, where the men endured one of the coldest winters on record. A desperate cry for help from the U.S. Forest Service on Isle Royale, Michigan during the drought of 1936 sent Company D-692 to help contain the inferno that threatened the entire island from destruction. Conditions on the island soon forced ordinary men into circumstances in which heroes find themselves. The book concludes with a tribute to these men by their grandchildren and an update on the two state parks they developed that are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.