Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin

Thousands of impoverished Northern European immigrants were promised that the prairie offered "land, freedom, and hope." The disastrous blizzard of 1888 revealed that their free homestead was not a paradise but a hard, unforgiving place governed by natural forces they neither understood nor controlled, and America's heartland would never be the same.

This is a well-written and well-researched account of a blizzard that came upon the people of the northern plains so quickly; most were caught in it without recourse.  It is known as ‘The Children’s Blizzard’ because a lot of school children were sent home at the first signs and never made it to safety. 

Included are meteorological (I’ll admit, I skipped most of these) and medical details (which I found fascinating). 

4 stars (PG-13 for disturbing details of children’s suffering)

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