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Captain's Log: History on the Cedar River

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

August 20, 2022

History on the Cedar River

Split-based Operations

August 20, 2022: Second World War U.S. Army reenactors on patrol at Seminole Vally Farm Museum, 1400 Seminole Valley Road, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52311.

Historians study how our historical interpretations change over time. The history of history is called historiography (the study of historical writing). Not everyone learns from a book. There are various types of learners. Some are visual learners. Some learn by doing. I had the opportunity to meet with some military history reenactors this weekend.

Every third weekend in August, along the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, Iowa- the Second World War is remembered at Seminole Valley Farm Museum. Military reenactors from the Midwest gather on that weekend which this year fell on Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21, 2022, to better understand the technical and tactical aspects of our past. How we remember our past and what we learn from it are interesting topics. How humankind portrays and remembers its past changes.

I enjoy the challenge of deploying books into the weather... I put up the book selling tent in daylight and between rainstorms on Friday the Nineteenth. The predicted sixty mile an hour wind gusts, and hail went to the south of us (after I put up the tent). Thankfully, the tent did not blow down, nor did the books get wet.

It was the second year, that I have sold military history books on the Cedar River in August. Both years it rained. Despite the adverse weather, all the books remained dry! A good time was had by all (between the cloud bursts.) ... I could simply sell books from an air-conditioned book shoppe, but there is a rewarding thrill of being an expeditionary bookseller. Deciding what to risk in the elements, and what to protect is bookselling adventure.

This year I kept the book shoppe in Iowa City staffed and open while I deployed up to Cedar Rapids and literally sold boxes of books along the Cedar River. The weather was not the biggest obstacle. The strangest dilemma was needing to run two credit cards along the Cedar River and one in Iowa City - all at the same time. Thankfully, everyone was patient. The store was closed on Sunday, and oddly all sales along the river were cash. No two days in the book business are ever the same.

Saturday the Twentieth, Lieutenant General Omar Bradley browsed through my books along the Cedar River. He was so convincing, when I saw those three stars on his collar, I almost snapped to attention. Numerous obscure three-dollar bios about Hitler, his medical records, and his delusions were sitting on my display table in the baking, humid sun. The reenactor portraying the legendary U.S. General wanted to know where the Bradley books were. I looked up into the sky and at the dark clouds. "Too risky. They are back at my store."

Some books I am willing to gamble with and deploy into tornado alley in a flimsy tent. Despite the inclement weather, I deployed inexpensive infantry WWII histories. They all sold. The expensive airpower books, I kept in reserve and in waterproof transit cases. The rare first editions stayed in garrison.

Mock battles between Axis and Allies frequently occurred vicinity the Captain's Book Tent.

Second World War British Paratrooper and American Infantryman preparing to cross a danger area.

German military reenactors that stopped by Captain's Book Shoppe looking for an English dictionary and a few other jokes. They also wanted a military vehicle identification guide, due to reports of a Polish armored scout vehicle in the area. I had no idea what they were talking about.

WWII armored Polish scout vehicle.

The rain cleared, and the event was preparing to kick off...

Local TV Channel 9 KCRG news report about the event.

The adventure continues online. Click on the below links to observe what is being gathered for next year's event. If you see a book you want to purchase, or you have questions about, please give Captain Jeff a phone call at: (319) 351-3166. (The phone is one of those old style landlines, so no texts, please.)

If you feel the need to go digital, send Jeff an email at

Military History deals that remain available:


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