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Review: Mesabi Pioneers by Russell Hill and Jeffrey Smith

02_Mesabi Pioneers CoverPublication Date: October 6, 2014
Lempi Publishing
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
238 Pages


In the early 1890s, a group of brothers discovered iron ore in the dense pine woods of northern Minnesota. Mesabi Pioneers tells the story of the immigrants who dug that ore out of the ground, who carved towns from trees, and who built new lives for themselves and their families.

Excellent story in the discovery of iron ore in the isolated dense tree filled forest of Minnesota circa 1891. American entrepreneur recruits European immigrants in the quest for ore. The challenging conditions pose difficult circumstances – brutal winters, remote location, summers suffering the bite of insects, however, their efforts prove successful as an abundance of ore is discovered.

The backbreaking labor comes to fruition along with the disappointments business ventures often bring. A melting pot of workers join forces to establish a town and build nothing into a prosperous location. Ethnicity divides as these patchwork laborers attempt to understand and accept their differences with the shared goal of providing for their families as well as establishing themselves in their new home. Sacrifices made in the name of achieving the American Dream, often costing ones life.

Great charachterzation and setting brings this story to life. Arthur Maki, or Arvid Måkelå a Finnish carpenter serves as the focus of the story. We follow Arthur through his early days in camp to the bitter end. He evolves and grows as a man professionally and personally. A man held in high esteem by his peers, a gentleman through and through.

Wonderful historical references, well researched, the reader is given access to the crude and dangerous tactics in the mining of ore, all the difficulties following and the underhanded side of business. Highly highly recommend this story, a rich glimpse into American history and the unsung heroes making it all possible with little to no recognition.

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Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble
Mesabi Project Website

About the Authors

03_Authors Russell Hill & Jeffrey Smith

Dr. Russell Hill was born and raised on Minnesota’s Iron Range. During World War II he served in Naval Intelligence, receiving several prestigious medals for his service. After the War he received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota and began a long and successful teaching career. Hill passed away peacefully in 2011, surrounded by his beloved family. He was 85-years-old.

Jeffrey Smith began his love of letters at fourteen on a Smith-Corona electric typewriter borrowed from his father. He is a full-time writer, homemaker and stay-at-home parent. He is also an accomplished distance runner, completing 16 marathons, seven 24-hour relay races, and multiple ultra-runs, including several 100-mile races.

For more information visit mesabiproject.com. You can also follow Mesabi Pioneers on Facebook and Twitter.

Mesabi Pioneers Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 4
Blog Tour Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, May 5
Guest Post at The Maiden’s Court

Monday, May 11
Review at Unshelfish

Wednesday, May 13
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at I Heart Reading

Thursday, May 14
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, May 18
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, May 20
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Monday, May 25
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Tuesday, May 26
Review at Book Nerd
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, May 28
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, May 29
Review at A Novel Kind of Bliss

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