Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin

This is a really well written book! The outcome was never in doubt and even if it was, the title would have tipped me off; but the book compels you to finish it even as it makes you want to cry.

And it had a conclusion so interesting I had to read parts of it aloud to my husband.

“The memories still burn. They burn all the fiercer because sorrow, sadness, and heartache did indeed follow in the blizzard’s train. . . . These days nearly one million acres of the plains are so sparsely populated that they meet the condition of frontier as defined by the Census Bureau in the nineteen century. . . The white farmers and townspeople who remain would shun you for daring to say it, but in large stretches of prairie it’s beginning to look like European agricultural settlement is a completed chapter of history. ‘It’s time for us to acknowledge one of America’s greatest mistakes,’ wrote Nicholas D. Kristof on the op-ed page of the New York Times, ‘a 140-year-old-scheme that has failed at a cost of trillions of dollars, countless lives and immeasurable heartbreak: the settlement of the great plains.’” (pg. 270)

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