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Near the banks of Troublesome Creek in Cass County, Iowa, a boy happily grows up on his family’s farm in the 1930s and 1940s. He helps his father milk cows and harvest hay, reads newspapers, and listens to radio serials. But it is when he is seventeen and hears his mother excitedly shout, “You won!” that everything suddenly changes for Duane Acker.

In his engaging memoir, Acker begins by chronicling his early life, leading up to the moment when his mother told him he had won a sizeable college scholarship, ultimately transforming the course of his life forever. As he shares anecdotes from college, his teaching years, and his university leadership roles, Acker offers a glimpse into the characters he encountered along the way, including a beloved school janitor, a wise associate dean, and a decisive governor. Acker also shares fascinating “extracurricular” experiences, such as dining in the White House next to the President’s wife and reviewing the impact of the post–World War II Marshall Plan as a guest of the West German government.

From Troublesome Creek takes a compelling journey through a farm boy’s coming-of-age experiences and life lessons that continue through his unexpected path in life.

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