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Author set for A to Z Books presentationTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Stew Magnuson
Courtesy Photo­Image

Award-winning writer Stew Magnuson will bring his new book about U.S. Highway 83 to North Platte Saturday.

Magunson will appear downtown at A to Z Books at 1:30 p.m. and be in Stapleton at the community center at 4:30 p.m.

The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Route 83: The Dakotas, is a nonfiction travel-history book that uncovers stories of the international highway that runs in front of the bookstore as it bisects the two Dakotas from north to south.

Magnuson’s non-fiction book The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder: And Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns was named the Nebraska Center of the Book’s 2009 book of the year.

This book is the first installment of three chronicles of U.S. 83. Books about Nebraska-Kansas and Oklahoma-Texas will be released in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Descending 1,885 miles straight down the center of the United States from Westhope, North Dakota, to Brownsville, Texas, U.S. 83 is one of the oldest and longest of the federal highways.

Magnuson takes readers on a trip down the road and through the history of the northern Great Plains. The famous and the forgotten are found in stories he discovers in the Dakotas.

The first book portrays explorers Pierre de la Vérendrye, Lewis & Clark and Jedediah Smith, along with Chief Spotted Tail of the Brulé Lakotas, as well as TV sensation Lawrence Welk and rodeo superstar Casey Tibbs.

Cold-blooded killers, homesteaders, ballplayers and rail barons of yesteryear meet today’s truckers, oil rig workers and ghost towns inhabitants, Magnuson said.

Magnuson conducted his voyage of discovery in a beat-up 1999 Mazda Protégé.

Timed for release during the states’ 125th anniversary year, The Last American Highway: The Dakotas, is a love poem to the natural beauty of the prairie and the fascinating people, both past and present, that he found along the road, Magnuson said.

“Highway 83 is itself interesting, and the scenery is beautiful, but it was the people I met that made this a fascinating journey,” he said. “Every one and every town has a story to tell, I discovered.”

Magnuson, who has a grandmother in Stapleton, also administers the Fans of U.S. Route 83 page on Facebook with more than 1,000 members. And, he writes the Highway 83 Chronicles blog. He also set up the U.S. Route 83 Travel page website, which gives tips about taking a trip on the road.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/18/2014
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