Seduced by the government's offer of 320 acres per homesteader, Americans and Europeans rushed to Montana and the Dakotas to fulfill their own American dream in the first decade of this century. Raban's stunning evocation of the harrowing, desperate reality behind the homesteader's dream strips away the myth--while preserving the romance--that has ...
Seduced by the government's offer of 320 acres per homesteader, Americans and Europeans rushed to Montana and the Dakotas to fulfill their own American dream in the first decade of this century. Raban's stunning evocation of the harrowing, desperate reality behind the homesteader's dream strips away the myth--while preserving the romance--that has shrouded our understanding of our own heartland.
Collectible-New in None as Issued jacket. Brand new & collectible. Award winning historical novel of the American West. In 1909 Congress, lobbied by railroad interests, offer 320-acre tracts of land in eastern Monatana to homesteaders---thousands responded and most failed. Jonathan Raban (1942-) follows the stories of several families, which, combined with his personal experiences during the two years he traveled in Montana for research, paints a vivd picture of lives that were and makes the case that given the land and climate, the homesteading scheme was doomed to failure.
This was hugely interesting, and very well written history of the homesteading on the prairies. The irony here was that the US government had eliminated the plains Indians from the prairies, only to "give away" the land taken from the Indians.
Publishers Weekly, 1996-09-30 Raban (Old Glory), an Englishman now settled in Seattle, has written a vivid and utterly idiosyncratic social history of the homesteading movement in eastern Montana that went boom and bust during the first three decades of this century. It is the story of a dream turned sour that still echoes in the western American consciousness. Lured by free land from the government and a deceptive publicity campaign mounted by the local railroad, thousands from all over the eastern United States and northern Europe went to Montana to make their fortune as farmers. Raban follows the stories of several families, most of which end in heartbreak. He examines the literature that lured them there and the how-to books they read once they arrived. He tells the story of an early photographer, a woman, who recorded life on the prairie. He covers the weather, the homegrown school system, the early bankrupting fad of replacing horses with tractors, a Depression-era town built by the WPA andæmost recentlyæthe failed attempt of the dying community of Ismay to revive itself by changing its name to Joe, Montana, in the vain hope of luring football fans. Raban combines his personal experiences during the two years he traveled in Montana with historical research to argue that, given the land and the weather, the homesteading scheme was doomed to failure. The legacy today, seen most dramatically in the anti-government militia movement, is the belief, rooted in family memory, that government and big business conspire together against the little folk. This seemingly informal yet careful blend of chronicle and personal reportage is social history at its best. (Nov.)
Publishers Weekly, 1997-09-08 This account of the author's travels through homesteaded Montana won the NBCC nonfiction prize. (Oct.)
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