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I paid all my debts: A Norwegian-American Immigrant Saga of Life on the Prairie of North Dakota Perfect Paperback – September 22, 2009


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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Lutheran University Press (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932688412
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932688412
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,151,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Norwegians had been coming to America for three generations before Lloyd Svendsbye's family did. The life was hard in Norway and the stories of "the new land" continued to draw those who remained and gave them hope for a better life. So they came at the turn of the 20th century but the land remaining in America was not like the mountains and valleys of Norway that had satisfied the soul for the eons of time. Flat lands with insufficient water was available. Then came drought, economic depression and debt. This is a story of duty, tenacity, responsibility, integrity and struggling before God. The Svendsbye family experience brings the reader back to the life that was, close family, producing food, community ties, and leadership. They developed strength of character, exercised responsibility and care for family and neighbor, developed the gifts God had given them, and practiced stewardship over God's creation. --Al Quiie, former Governor of Minnesota

I encourage everyone interested in immigrant and frontier history to read this book. Many accounts of immigrants on the frontier are either overly sentimental or bloodlessly objective. Svendsbye avoids both of these extremes by dealing with the harsh and objective realities of frontier life in human contexts. Carefully researched and forthrightly told, this story tells the reader how one family navigated the vicissitudes of frontier life with forbearance, industry, loyalty and faith...and paid all their debts! --Paul Dovre, President Emeritus, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota

This is a candid and moving account of the life of a Norwegian immigrant couple and their children in North Dakota in the twentieth century. It is a plainly and powerfully told tale of both defeat and accomplishment in trying times and a challenging environment. It deserves a place alongside the works of Aagot Raaen, Carrie Lee Young, and others who have written about Norwegian-American life on the high plains. Lloyd Svensbye s story is something of its own, but he has also given us a book to temper and expand our understanding of Norwegian-American life as a whole. Read and relish it. --Todd W. Nichol, King Olav V Professor of Scandinavian-American Studies, St. Olaf College

I encourage everyone interested in immigrant and frontier history to read this book. Many accounts of immigrants on the frontier are either overly sentimental or bloodlessly objective. Svendsbye avoids both of these extremes by dealing with the harsh and objective realities of frontier life in human contexts. Carefully researched and forthrightly told, this story tells the reader how one family navigated the vicissitudes of frontier life with forbearance, industry, loyalty and faith...and paid all their debts! --Paul Dovre, President Emeritus, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota

This is a candid and moving account of the life of a Norwegian immigrant couple and their children in North Dakota in the twentieth century. It is a plainly and powerfully told tale of both defeat and accomplishment in trying times and a challenging environment. It deserves a place alongside the works of Aagot Raaen, Carrie Lee Young, and others who have written about Norwegian-American life on the high plains. Lloyd Svensbye s story is something of its own, but he has also given us a book to temper and expand our understanding of Norwegian-American life as a whole. Read and relish it. --Todd W. Nichol, King Olav V Professor of Scandinavian-American Studies, St. Olaf College

I encourage everyone interested in immigrant and frontier history to read this book. Many accounts of immigrants on the frontier are either overly sentimental or bloodlessly objective. Svendsbye avoids both of these extremes by dealing with the harsh and objective realities of frontier life in human contexts. Carefully researched and forthrightly told, this story tells the reader how one family navigated the vicissitudes of frontier life with forbearance, industry, loyalty and faith...and paid all their debts! --Paul Dovre, President Emeritus, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota

This is a candid and moving account of the life of a Norwegian immigrant couple and their children in North Dakota in the twentieth century. It is a plainly and powerfully told tale of both defeat and accomplishment in trying times and a challenging environment. It deserves a place alongside the works of Aagot Raaen, Carrie Lee Young, and others who have written about Norwegian-American life on the high plains. Lloyd Svensbye s story is something of its own, but he has also given us a book to temper and expand our understanding of Norwegian-American life as a whole. Read and relish it. --Todd W. Nichol, King Olav V Professor of Scandinavian-American Studies, St. Olaf College

About the Author

Dr. Lloyd Svendsbye has served as editor-in-chief at the former Augsburg Publishing House; a member of the Church Council of the American Lutheran Church; as president of Luther Northwestern Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota; as academic dean of St. Olaf College, Northfield Minnesota; as president of Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is affiliated with a number of Norwegian-American organizations.

Customer Reviews

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Ultimately, this is a story of determination.
2lanepavement
He is a gracious person and was delighted to learn that I had purchased and read his book.
R. Kurth
Reading it was like listening to my dad telling his story.
T. Walker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By history buff on December 29, 2009
Format: Perfect Paperback
This is not merely the story of one family, it is America's story and as such is informative, inspirational and indispensable. This book describes in human terms what it look to survive in one of the West's most harsh and challenging environments. The meticulously researched details of this story from crop prices to the cost of a railroad ticket to the weather on a particular day lend this story a note of authenticity that places this book on the must read list of anyone interested in the American experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Kurth on February 4, 2013
Format: Perfect Paperback
I met author Svendsbye recently at a funeral for a mutual friend. He is a gracious person and was delighted to learn that I had purchased and read his book. He thanked me repeatedly.

This story is interesting for the reasons cited by other reviewers above: it is the story of many American immigrants; it is the saga of many Norwegian immigrants; and it is especially well-researched in regard to the Svendsbye family and local community history.

What makes it truly compelling however is how personal it is. Svendsbye shares the difficulties and joys of his parent's life on the North Dakota prairie in the first half of the 20th century. The struggles of homesteading are portrayed well. There is value, the author contends, in completing worthwhile work. It was an incredible task for his father to keeping his fiscal nose above the rising tide of accruing debt -- the result of severe, extended drought and the Great Depression. And yet in the end, he took satisfaction in having paid all his debts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By 2lanepavement on June 19, 2013
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
With North Dakota pretty much branded as "flyover country", even among its neighboring states so often lumped into the same category by the "more sophisticated" residents of the East and West coasts, this was an eye-opening read. I hesitated before ordering the book, fearing it might end up a disjointed memoir of a struggling North Dakota family fresh off the boat from Norway. I wasn't far off the mark as far as the book's talking points: hardship, strife, success, failure, birth, death, infinity. But come on, we're talking about North Dakota, the families who settled it, and those who have survived and remain there. This book examines a culture that has withstood everything Mother Nature has hurled in its residents' paths. Politics, economics, education, science, society...they're all covered, and they're all intertwined. Ultimately, this is a story of determination. Do they all live happily ever after? Of course not. One might say the story is still unfolding. I have roots in North Dakota. My dad was raised there, but after World War Two ended he would up in the state of Washington. Like many North Dakotans, he said it was a good place to be from. Though my family was German-American, the tracings of the Svendsbye family of Norwegian descent echo many of the chapters from my dad's early days in North Dakota. I'm glad I read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Walker on February 1, 2012
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because my ancestors also lived in N Dakota and had immigrated there from Norway. Mine settled on the east side of N. Dakota. Reading it was like listening to my dad telling his story. Alot alike. Was a very interesting book. Hard to believe the hardships they faced, but my dad said there was alot of hunger and bad growing land. Good book for anybody w/ Norwegian ancestry.
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I paid all my debts: A Norwegian-American Immigrant Saga of Life on the Prairie of North Dakota
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