Bad Land An American Romance Author:Jonathan Raban In 1909 maps still identified eastern Montana as the Great American Desert. But in that year Congress, lobbied heavily by railroad companies, offered 320-acre tracts of land to anyone bold or foolish enough to stake a claim to them. Drawn by shamelessly inventive brochures, countless homesteaders--many of them immigrants--went west to... more » make their fortunes. Most failed. In Bad Land, Jonathan Raban travels through the unforgiving country that was the scene of their dreams and undoing, and makes their story come miraculously alive.
In towns named Terry, Calypso, and Ismay (which changed its name to Joe, Montana, in an effort to attract football fans), and in the landscape in between, Raban unearths a vanished episode of American history, with its own ruins, its own heroes and heroines, its own hopeful myths and bitter memories. Startlingly observed, beautifully written, this book is a contemporary classic of the American West.« less
Casey C. reviewed Bad Land: An American Romance on
Helpful Score: 2
Regardless of the title....this book is not a love story. It is an historical account about immigration to rural America in Montana and North Dakota. If you like American History....this one is a must. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
I liked this book. Mostly because my grandparents homesteaded in Montana in the 1920's. It has a lot of history of how the land was given out, and the hardships that the people went through. It told of how the railroads were started, the weather, etc. Very much information.
This book made my own past come alive. My father was born in Montana back in the twenties. His family were farmers who had immigrated from Wisconsin. I remember the stories about the thunderstorms and the blizzards that he told. This book fills in the missing pieces and explains how the family wound up there, and why they had to leave. Not to be missed if a trek across the plains is part of your history.