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This review is from: Staking Her Claim: Women Homesteading the West (Paperback)
If it's a cold snowy winter where you are (as it is here -- thirty below last night) and you're a single female out West (as I am) and you live alone because you love it (as I do), then I've got a book for you. It's "Staking her Claim: Women Homesteaders in the West," partly letters, partly memoir, and partly scholarly reflection, with a nice little sprinkling of photos, this book is produced by the High Plains Press with its special sympathy for women. Reading it, one realizes that this is not something that just happened on the American Frontier at a certain point in time, but a kind of attitude and resourcefulness that persists on the fringes of conformity everywhere.
One has to grant that homesteading on the American prairie was a special case, a way for women to escape from housewife drudgery or other scut work disguised as a career in nursing or teaching. As well, some of these tales speak of second generation homesteaders, young women who had grown up on the family homestead. They knew quite well what they were getting into and what it would take to survive.
Now the stories come to us as though new, unworn by familiarity: homesteaders with pianos who painted watercolors to pin on walls they had plastered themselves. Good reminders that bad times can be survived, land can be lost and gained, community can be built and rebuilt in the most unpromising places.