Recommended Books



The Driftless Reader 

Gathering Moss

La Farge

The Land Remembers

Mountain Wolf Woman

People of the Big Voice

The People Remember

Stories from the Flood


Kickapoo Valley Resources

Avalanche Looms

CROPP Cooperative

Tamara Dean

Down A Country Road

Driftless Area Initiative

Driftless Area Land Conservancy

Driftless Cafe

Driftless Defenders

Driftless Folk School

Driftless Forest Network

Driftless Wisconsin

Driftless Writing Center

Friends of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve

Ho-Chunk Nation

KV Forest School

KV Reforestation Fund

KV Reserve

La Farge, Wisconsin

Mississippi Valley Conservancy

The Nature of Things

Organic Valley

Brad Steinmetz

"The town that beat Walmart"

Trillium Cottage

Trout Unlimited

Valley Stewardship Network

Vernon County Times 

Vernon County Historical Society

Viroqua Food Cooperative

Wildcat Mountain





A Thousand Pieces of Paradise is an ecological history of property and a cultural history of rural ecosystems set in one of Wisconsin's most famous regions, the Kickapoo Valley. While examining the war on soil erosion in the 1930s, a controversial real estate development scheme, Amish land settlement, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam project, and Native American efforts to assert long-standing land claims, Lynne Heasley traces the historical development of modern property debates within ever-more-diverse rural landscapes and cultures. Heasley argues that the way public discourse has framed environmental debates hides the full shape our system of property has taken in rural communities and landscapes. She shows how democratic and fluid visions of property--based on community relationships--have coexisted alongside individualistic visions of property rights. In this environmental biography of a landscape and its people lie powerful lessons for rural communities seeking to understand and reconcile competing values about land and their place in it.

Reactions to A Thousand Pieces of Paradise

"A Thousand Pieces of Paradise is a pioneering study that anyone interested in rural America and contemporary debates about property rights and environmental protection will want to read."---William Cronon, author of Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature and Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West

"This penetrating analysis of the complex forces that shape the landscape is a welcome relief from the narrow, rancorous debate between private property rights and outside government interference. A Thousand Pieces of Paradise tells a Midwestern story of national importance."---Brian Donahue, author of The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord and Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in a New England Town

"An insightful, engaging and highly readable treatment of a complex set of themes.  While the story told focuses on southwestern Wisconsin, the lessons learned are applicable throughout rural America."---Harvey Jacobs, editor of Who Owns America: Social Conflict Over Property Rights

"A splendid job. The book provides great insights into what is happening in these rural counties.  I would urge any planner with an interest in rural planning to read the book before embarking on a career of land use planning in such regions."---Harold (Bud) C. Jordahl, Jr., Earth Day co-founder, leader in establishing the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and former chair of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board.

"Lynne Heasley, in her new book, A Thousand Pieces of Paradise, does not write about fly fishing, rarely mentions it; but she does write about a place that Midwest fly fishers find beautiful, Southwestern Wisconsin.  In doing so, she explores important questions that have something to do with why we fish. With Lynne Heasley's help, the next time we drive to Southwestern Wisconsin, thinking about the hatches and whether we have flies that will work, we will also think about the land that holds those streams and the people who live near them."---Harry L. Peterson, Wisconsin Trout (Trout Unlimited)

"Heasley's background in history and environmental studies suits her well to tell this story superbly.  So much for cookie-cutter stereotypes of the rural Midwest! Summing Up: Highly recommended."---Choice

"This book is in the best tradition of two fields--historical geography and environmental history. Although this is a superb study of how the land itself is changing, it is even better as a series of interwoven human stories."---American Historical Review

"The research is impressive and the fieldwork that helps tell the story of ecological change is wonderfully informative."---Agricultural History

"As Lynne Heasley guides us along the wooded crests and through the deep-cut coulees of southwestern Wisconsin in her book A Thousand Pieces of Paradise, she presents a well-crafted ecological history of this magical land as "a local chapter in a national book" on the American land-use wars of the 20th century. Looking back, Heasley refrains from harsh historical judgments.  Looking ahead, she eschews simple solutions to complex problems. A Thousand Pieces of Paradise contains as many switchbacks and surprises as the Kickapoo River itself."---Wisconsin People and Ideas

"Extensively researched and carefully documented, A Thousand Pieces of Paradise is thoroughly accessible to lay readers and scholars alike, and searches past history of the Kickapoo Valley's rural ecosystems in hope of offering accurate future predictions of and solutions to future problems for the Kickapoo Valley and other lands like it."---Midwest Book Review

"The UW Press continues its streak of strong books about the natural and geopolitical history of Wisconsin with two top-drawer studies....Do not confuse A Thousand Pieces of Paradise with James Frey's mega-controversial A Million Little Pieces. This book is about the Kickapoo Valley, and doesn't contain any fibs. This isn't a tour guide; it's a serious look at land use."---Isthmus



Back to Academics