The old Indian's warning said the coming winter would be hard and long, so Laura's father moved his family from the claim to his house in town. The claim shanty wasn't strong enough to keep out blizzards, and if they were snowed up there, far from help, they might freeze or starve. The shops in town were full of supplies; and if their stocks ran ...
The old Indian's warning said the coming winter would be hard and long, so Laura's father moved his family from the claim to his house in town. The claim shanty wasn't strong enough to keep out blizzards, and if they were snowed up there, far from help, they might freeze or starve. The shops in town were full of supplies; and if their stocks ran out, the trains would bring more. But when winter came, the blizzards raged and screamed over the town. When Laura woke in the mornings, she heard the terrifying noise of the storm, and every nail in the planks above her head was thick with frost. There were no trains. Soon there was no oil for the lamps, no fuel for the stove. Laura's family lived on coarse brown bread, made from corn ground in the little coffee mill. They burnt hay; and Ma made a button lamp that gave a tiny light. It was May before the snow melted, and the first train got through. On it was the Ingalls' Christmas turkey, still frozen stiff. What a dinner that was!
This book was read to us by a teacher when it was too cold and snowy to go out in the 60's. After reading "The Children's Blizzard" I will reread this book.
The book is in great shape and will be passed to my grandchildren.
May 14, 2010
I first read this book when my daughter was 13 and she was reading the LEW books and wanted me to read it so she would have someone to talk to about it. I read it then and reread it just now and was very impressed with it both times. I think this book offers a wonderful insight into just how difficult and heartwarming frontier life could be. Things like the challenge of just staying warm, the threat of starvation, incredible blizzards, and the closenest of family life before radio and TV and computers. I really thank God that I am fortunate enough to have a daughter that loved to read when she was young and that got me to read many great books that I would otherwise have missed. For those of you that deride this as not "true" history I say "bah". All history is to some degree fantasy and is slways told from someones biased view. Great book!
Mar 27, 2009
A heart rending tale of hardship, endurance, perserverance and love. I am so glad that laura Ingalls Wilder shared her experiences and hardships in book form. I have nothing but respect for those who settled the west. This is a great read.
Jan 16, 2008
Finding the Gold
The Long Winter is a remarkable, true story of the best and worst traits in man when he is tested to his limits. It is told from the viewpoint of a young girl. I had not read long into the book, when I realized this girl was different. She saw the world through the eyes of an artist. She saw the potential, questioned, analyzed, imagined. The only person in the family who has the same artist's soul is her father. The rest of the family has no idea who she is. She presents an honest view of herself with her flaws, her impatience.
A thread through the entire book is the music. It lifts them up when the storm is howling around the house, unites them. In chapter 30, toward the end of the book, life had become a numb routine of twisting hay to burn in the stove and grinding wheat. "Laura and Pa were holding their stiff, swollen red hands over the stove, Ma was cutting the coarse brown bread for supper. The blizzard was loud and furious. "It can't beat us!" Pa said. "Can't it, Pa?" Laura asked stupidly. "No," said Pa. "It's got to quit sometime and we don't. It can't lick us. We won't give up." Then Laura felt a warmth inside her...it was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up."
That is the turning point in the story: the power of words in the human condition. In all the suffering and hardship, Laura finds the gold - what makes life matter. I am an artist and relate personally to Laura. As a child, I had the same giant imagination and questioning mind and was surrounded by people who did not know me. My Father, like Laura's, was an artist and did know me. Her story goes beyond a pioneer tale of hardship and survival. She gets to the heart of the human soul, to what matters. Young people need to read this book. In an age of "me first" this book speaks in poetic. beautiful language about the power and necessity of loving one another.
Apr 4, 2007
Hope for hard times
If you are going through a very tough time in your life, The Long Winter will give you inspiration to carry on. The Ingalls family and townspeople of De Smet endure months of chronic blizzards which prevent trains from bringing them the food and supplies with which to live. The Long Winter covers the "hope-despair-hope" cycle that every human being faces in their lives, but in the end...........hope.
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