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High, Wide and Lonesome: Growing Up on the Colorado Frontier [Kindle Edition]

Hal Borland
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In this memoir of a lost America, Hal Borland tells the story of his family’s migration to eastern Colorado as homesteaders at the turn of the twentieth century. On an unsettled and unwelcoming prairie landscape, the Borlands build a house, plant crops, and eke out a meager existence. While life is difficult—and self-reliance is necessary with no neighbors for miles—the experience brings the family close and binds them closer to the terrible and beautiful natural patterns that govern their lives. Borland would grow up to study journalism and become an acclaimed nature writer, and it was these childhood years on the prairie that shaped the author’s heart and mind.

Editorial Reviews


“One of the best frontier narratives ever written.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“The stuff of the American dream.” —The New York Times 

About the Author

Hal Borland (1900–1978) was a nature writer and novelist who produced numerous bestselling books including memoirs and young adult classics, as well as decades of nature writing for the New York Times. Borland considered himself a “natural philosopher,” and he was interested in exploring the way human life was bound to the greater world of plants, animals, and natural processes. 

Product Details

  • File Size: 419 KB
  • Print Length: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (November 29, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0066B7LD6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,861 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale from the recent past July 30, 2000
Hal Borland grew up on the Colorado frontier early in the 20th century, his family being among the last to take advantage of the Homestead Act. Although the story is set from 1910-1913, within the lifetime of a few old people I know, it's so far away from the world of the internet that it's staggering. In some ways like the Little House on the Prairie books, but somewhat more sophisticated, this is a completely true account of Mr. Borland's childhood, and it relates the events of his difficult life, and also explores deeper subjects such as the nature of time. A difficult book to find, but a very worthwhile read.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High, Wide, & Lonesome May 9, 2000
By A Customer
The author moved to the Colorado frontier at the turn of the century when he was a preteen. His descriptions of the hard work for survival that his family endured, along with the peacefulness of a time that was not burdened by extra possessions, made me homesick for a different time. He reminded me that a lot of what we are missing is time to sit and look at the sky (there was no school nearby, so he didn't attend one). It was not an easy time, and illnesses before penicillan could be deadly. But courage and love went a long way, even though those words were not mentioned. I was quite moved by this family's determination to succeed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simpler life in a fabulous book April 12, 2010
By MacRoni
It's hard to imagine a nine-year-old boy in this day and age with the maturity that Hal Borland had. This family, homesteading in eastern Colorado, dealt with everything imaginable. The boy Hal was helping his father build a house, dig a well, plant and feed livestock. He hunted for food and did daily chores. The weather was another matter with everything from a drought to blizzards. He was so grateful for his parents, it was awe inspiring.

This book is so beautifully written; it made me want a simpler way of life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High, Wide and Lonesome review: Read from my Kindle September 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
High, Wide, and Lonesome. It is a "Little House on the Prairie" type of book meant for adults. It gave a true an realistic accounting of life on the western prairie. My family and I have passed through this area many times. It is wide and open with nothing around but the open horizon, some fence, a windmill, and the occasional house. We have often wondered how someone traveling in a wagon could decide "let's stop here and settle down". Did they like the area or were they just tired of traveling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Unholy List
This book is a great story and a very good read and should be required reading for every young person and adult in America. It tells the story of life on the Colorado frontier in the late 1800's. It is the story of a family who went through hard times and never thought of asking the goverment for help. We now live in a society where many and maybe most people have a entitlement mentality. Our forefathers who made America great were self-reliant, rugged individualist who would have been ashamed to ask the goverment for help.This is the story of one of those famlies. This book is fun to read and reveals to the reader the knid of people who built this great nation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story of homesteading. May 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This story told from the view point of a young boy, really brought home memory's of the time I spent roaming the fields and absorbing the life of both plants and animals all around me. That time spent with nature created a life long passion for wild life as well as attempting to capture the landscapes around me in some way. This book will impact each reader in a different way and is well worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating January 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well written book takes us back to the days of our pioneers. It is amazing that people went through such tough times and survived, even thrived. Borland and his parents were certainly what we used to refer to as strong stock. What is amazing is that the book is set in the early 1900s, not the 1800s. Well within reach of nearly recent memory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read! December 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Captured my interest from the very first chapter and held it until the end. It provides a very personal and well written history of the struggles, tough decisions, and the joys that eastern Colorado homesteaders experienced.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great memoir
This is the story of a young family who homesteaded in Colorado. They had to work the land for three years in order to own it and it was not easy. Read more
Published 19 days ago by betsyb
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting account of homesteading in 1900's
Recounting of a boy's life from 10 to 13 years old. The details of daily life when establishing a farm from nothing. The author painted beautiful word pictures of his surroundings. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Threadie 55
5.0 out of 5 stars The first one I got I loved
Waiting on the 2nd one I ordered. Kindle what the Hay? Looks liked to charged to my account? Would like some word. Thx
Published 4 months ago by Hal Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars glimpse into the life on the plains
As I sit here all comfy with in all my luxury, this book gave me insight into another way of life.
Recommend this to anyone who thinks their life is rough
Published 4 months ago by ty fouchey
4.0 out of 5 stars High, Wide and lonesome will take you to real pioneer life
I read " When the Legends Die" when I was young, and decided I should try another Borland book, since the first was so good. Read more
Published 5 months ago by dave k
5.0 out of 5 stars Made me appreciate what we have now.
My great grandparents built a house in Akron, Colorado in about 1907 so I read this book to know a little of what they went through. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Shirley Vaughan
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story.
This is a good story and very well written. Kept my attention. Lets you peek into life on the frontier.
Published 8 months ago by Lori Chancellor
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
An excellent read told from the perspective of a young boy growing up during the building of our heartland. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Avid Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Turn of the century slice of life
I loved this book, but then, I love history - particularly American history. I thought it was well written and depicted the true way of life on the frontier at the turn of the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Rosie Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars sad to have it end.
Living in Ks and having the open grasslands as my favorite area I can somewhat relate to the authors love of the plains. Read more
Published 12 months ago by LaDonna Andritsch
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