Four Centuries in Kansas by Bliss Isely and W. M. Richards was originally a textbook, but it was written in an animated style that makes it an interesting read. The narrative covers state history from the Indians to World War I. Obviously that leaves a gap in the record, and the later chapters were written without the advantage of hindsight; nevertheless the book is a worthwhile starting point.
The 1936 edition is divided into 12 units:
- “How Kansas Served as a Home for Indians.”
- “Early White Men in Kansas.”
- “How Kansas Came To Be a Part of the United States.”
- “How Kansas Has Served as a Highway.”
- “How Kansas Was Affected by the Dispute Over Slavery.”
- “How Kansas Acquired Her Present Form of Government.”
- “Kansas and the End of Slavery.”
- “Development of Transportation.”
- “Man and Nature.”
- “How Education Has Developed in Kansas.”
- “The Kansas Spirit.”
- “Contributions of Kansas People.”
Each unit is accompanied by activities, discussion questions, and references for those who want to dig in a little deeper.
Although not the most up-to-date history book on Kansas, Four Centuries in Kansas is nevertheless a useful introduction to the early history of the state, and offers some interesting commentary on Kansas after the Civil War. Consider it a jumping-off point for further research.