An amazing true story. As if the story itself wasn't enough (and it is), the author really did her research into the cultural and social history fo the U.S. and the Norweigian immigrant community Helga is a part of. This understanding of time and place makes you appreciate Helga's struggle even more. It's also a story of family secrets (the story of her journey was kept from the grandchildren and forbidden to be spoken of among the family, as well as the drawings and journals burned in an attempt to remove all trace of this story), and a story on the judgements we place on other people.
I sat next to the author on a plane and was fascinated enough to go home and promptly order the book. I was not disappointed. Helga Estby should be mentioned in more history books for her inspired effort to save her family.
True story about a woman and her daughter who walked across america in 1876.Story is written from newspaper articles and accounts. A peek into what it was like being a more liberated woman in that time. Excellent book
Author does a good job of piecing sketchy information into a book. I was a bit put off by all the holes in the story, and of the walk too. It is worth the read, but I'm glad I didn't pay full book store price for my copy. I found myself really drifting as the story was so sketchy and incomplete during the walk.
Carolyn - reviewed Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America on
Helpful Score: 1
This book brought me to tears near the end. Not only does it tell a very powerful story of a woman's life, but the author includes thoughtful suggestions concerning the importance of preserving and sharing your life story or the story of someone close to you.
I won't go over the plot again because you can just read above what the book is about. What I do want to say about this book is that Helga Estby and her daughter Clara are two of the most inspirational women ever. I don't really care what the norm was at that time, I don't think most men would have been able to do what she and Clara did. What better motivation than to do this than to try and save the family farm which she and her husband had worked so hard for.The ending was a bit tough considering how her family treated her when she came back and for years later. If not for her daughter in law this story might never have been remembered because her family was incredibly angry with Helga and did not like to let her talk about the trip. The book also touches on important topics of that day such as women's rights, women's health, politics,destitute families in the big cities, and issues related to workers and their need for better rights. I highly recommend for everyone!
Wonderful account of two woman walking from Oregon to New York in 1896, what they encounter and what the cost is of their trip and the loss of the reward of $10,000. It shows the spirit of the pioneer women to endure whatever life handed them and to strive for better and the ability to move outside of the normal thinking and do what must be done. This was wonderful and I feel beneficial to anyone wanting to broaden their knowledge of this country's history.
I have mixed feelings about this book. It is well written, and surely well intentioned, but because of a lack of extensive source material, is filled with speculation rather than solid facts. Also, while it's extremely interesting in some respects, there is a lack of joy or humor which makes the book ultimately depressing. Still, it provides many fascinating glimpses into the "adventure" of Helga Estby and her daughter, as well as America of that age.
This is an absorbing story, uplifting, informative, and sad.
However, there is much more book than there is story--little solid documentation exists for Helga's walk, so to make the tale more than a footnote to history, the author had to rely on repetition, and on speculation, a LOT of speculation, to fill in the gaps, and that became tiresome very quickly.
Compounding this problem is Hunt's belief, stated in the forward to the book, that it it is "the job of professional historians to provide plausible reasons for the actions of the past". The idea that historians should not only report but also interpret is disturbing, and makes even the "facts" suspect.
Found this a bit unbelievable but it does speak to the ability and strength of woman in a time when they didn't even have the right to vote. It reads more like a college research paper then a novel. I'm glad I read it but I wouldn't call it a must read.
In 1896 Helga Estby along with her Eldest daughter Clara walked 3500 miles across the American continent in order to win a $10,000 wager provided by a mysterious sponsor. Great story! Has you cheering them on but it also leaves you speechless at times on of how people can be so cruel. Not the best writing, it is choppy and dry. Author also leaves you hanging here and there but overall the story is so worth the read.