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Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier Paperback


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Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier + Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier (Oklahoma Paperbacks Edition) + Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Later Printing edition (September 17, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671447483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671447489
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Peter S. Prescott Newsweek Irresistible...uncommonly interesting...a remarkable distillation of invaluable primary sources.

Carolyn See Los Angeles Times Book Review Here are the voices of some of the most wonderful women you can imagine calling out from the past, telling about their lives. And no doubt about it, the 'pioneer women' lived eventful lives. All this is wonderful material, wonderful stuff.

Cleveland Plain Dealer A striking testimonial to the too often overlooked feminine half of the pioneer experience.

About the Author

Joanna L. Stratton was born and raised in Washington, D.C., but considers Kansas and her family there as her second home. She began her work on Pioneer Women while attending Harvard College, from which she graduated with honors in 1976. She is currently pursuing graduate studies at Stanford University.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Would recommend this reading to anyone interested in History of our early pioneers.
Bonnie E. Brown
Thank you Pioneer Women and thank you Joanna Stratton for sharing these incredible stories!
Terri Q. Washburn
The author has done a wonderful job adding background and weaving the stories together.
O. Chavez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Smallchief on June 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
I read somewhere that a statistically large number of prominent Americans were born in 19th century Kansas. That was perhaps a result of the hard, but ultimately rewarding pioneer life that is described in these pages. Kansas and the West a century ago were in the vanguard of social innovation and progressive politics in the U.S.

Author Stratton re-discovered the oral histories of 800 Kansas pioneer women collected by her great-grandmother in the 1920s. She has taken this mountain of material and organized it into 15 themes in 15 chapters, giving background on each theme and quoting the pioneer women. For example, one chapter details the long journey to the frontier of Kansas undertaken by many of the women and their families. Blizzards, fatal disease, fear of Indians and other dangers greeted them. Other chapters describe the social life of the pioneer women, the education of their children, frontier churches, and the famous Kansas crusades for suffrage and temperance.

It would also be interesting to read some of the 800 oral histories. The author doesn't tell us where they are or if they are available to the general public. Certainly they should be made available as they are irreplaceable primary sources

The role of women on the frontier has been a popular subject of women writers for two or three decades now. This is one of the better books on the subject -- and one that can be enjoyed by readers of either sex.

Smallchief
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book when it was first published, and then recommended it to friends and, ultimately, passed it on and it has never been returned. Year after year the story comes back to me as one of the finest I have every read. J. Stratton wrote this novel after finding a stash of letters in a family attic, and there's nothing like true life for gripping drama. A gem.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book many years ago and still revisit the memories of how women and children lived during those frontier years.I'm ordering another copy to pass on. I have recommended this book to many, including adolescent students in my classrooms. Rather than the romantic, Hollywood views of these times, this book offers raw images of the harshness of life from the actual women who struggled on the frontier. The book is a compilation of letters the author's grandmother requested and received from these women. If you want to validate how fortunate we are to live in these times, read this book!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Terri Q. Washburn on July 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
A fast, facinating read. The courage these women had to have just to live day to day, brought tears to my eyes! Without their strength, courage, and resourcefulness the frontier would never have been tamed! This should be required reading for every woman from these United States!
Thank you Pioneer Women and thank you Joanna Stratton for sharing these incredible stories!
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Dittman on January 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
As Arthur Schlesinger Jr.'s says in his forward to Stratton's Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier our historical record is built upon "important" people. People who leave records of their lives. For years, women, for the most part, left no such records (Unless of course, they were infamous, Americans seem able to recall the names of Lizzie Borden and Typhoid Mary without trouble.) In Pioneer Women, Stratton attempts to rectify this historical oversight by presenting scores of memoirs written by women who inhabited and helped push Kansas along from being a synonym for a luckless hardship filled land (We need to look no farther than Baum's using it for the earth-bound, twister-prone setting for his book, The Wizard of Oz) to a state whose women urged farmers to "raise less corn and more Hell" politically (13).

Stratton's introduction to her book is excellent, providing us with an unusual example of proto-womanism: a rich woman, Lilla Day Monroe (Stratton's grandmother) worked to preserve the words, thoughts and experiences of the hard-scrabble settlers who were the first Anglos to arrive in Kansas. Monroe, publisher of The Kansas Woman's Journal and the first woman in Kansas to be admitted into practice before the Kansas Supreme Court in 1895, began collecting the stories of pioneer women in the 1920's. It was a job that soon mushroomed into an almost insurmountable task. Monroe kept with the project, even at the expense of her health, using the women's experiences to document the growth of Kansas from frigid forbidding land to birthplace of the Temperance movement and stronghold for Suffrage.

The tone of the memories is jarring.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Princess Magpie on June 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
Anyone wishing to experience what Pioneer life [on any frontier] was like for their Grandmothers, Great Grandmothers, etc. and their families, this is a must read! There are interesting descriptions of how the Kansas Pioneers built their Sod Homes on the Great Plains. [Pages 54-55]. The description of the Great Blizzard of New Year's Day 1886, that my Grandfather weathered and loved to tell the story [mid Page 92], was an accidental verification I had sought for years. Family researchers might glean some everyday 'Pioneer life' tidbits, tweeked to fit their state's history, to enliven their family stories. Afterall, all of these amazing Pioneer women experienced the same happenings of their day!
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