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Homesteading Hardcover – September 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; 1st edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558216022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558216020
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,409,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In 1909, Wollaston's (1904-83) parents moved their family to a homestead in Montana. In the 1970s, Wollaston decided to write about his family's homesteading experiences so that his children would have a record of their history. One of his sons shared a copy of this manuscript with Jonathan Raban, who used it as a source for his book Bad Land (LJ 10/1/96). In the foreword, Raban speculates that the family was lured West by the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 and the "extravagant promotional literature of the railroads." Wollaston's recollections are neither bitter nor sentimental; they are the simply told story of hard times and people hoping to better their lives on an unforgiving land. This excellent memoir gives a human face to the history of homesteading. Highly recommended for both its own merits and its link to Bad Land.?Linda L. McEwan, Elgin Community Coll., Ill.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

An understated memoir about a lost time in a remote place. Late in life, Montana resident Percy Wollaston (1904-83) set down a series of autobiographical sketches for the benefit of his grandchildren. The manuscript found an interested outside reader in British journalist Jonathan Raban, who used it as a primary source for his book Bad Land (1996). Raban, who contributes a foreword to this book, made literature of Wollaston's life, but Wollaston is no slouch as a writer himself. He ably describes the hard life of pioneer families on the Great Plains, men and women like his parents who traveled westward with the railroad in the early decades of the 20th century to find a bit of fertile land they could call their own. But what they found was closer to a desert, ill-suited to most kinds of cultivation. ``The land itself was inexorable,'' he writes. ``The bed of some prehistoric ocean, it had tolerated only the creatures that were best able to survive, resisting even the elements.'' The struggle to subdue the land broke many of those newcomers, Wollaston records; whole families were laid low by cold weather, drought, disease. As Raban notes, Wollaston is a keen student of detail, and his passing remarks on the way that, for example, plows were shaped to ensure the best tillage or how skunks were trapped for their pelts will be of much interest to students of Americana. Wollaston captures a Montana between eras, no longer the Old West but not yet quite settled. It was a time when, as he writes, cowpunchers still shot up a saloon because they thought it was expected of them--but then apologetically left money behind to cover the damage. As a document of the last days of the frontier, this guileless memoir is of much value. (20 b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lenore S. Schellinger on June 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In a simple, straightforward style Percy Wollaston relates a memoir of his youth and his family's attempt to wrest a livelihood by dryland farming on Montana's eastern plains in the 1920s & 1930s. Their experience was heartbreaking, but there was nothing pitiful about these resilient people. What a treasure Wollaston left his descendants and all of us who want to hear a first-person account of that era! It's easy to see why the British writer, Jonathan Raban, was so taken with Wollaston's story. Wonderful!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JL on March 30, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an extremely well written book that is both informative and engaging. I wanted this book to feel my grandfather felt when he homesteaded Eastern Montana in 1910. He was one of the survivors for 52 years. The book provided a wonderful vicarious experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By alice m. burton on April 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a very interesting book and I am glad I ordered it to find out what it was like in the beginning of the settlement of that area.
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