"Homesteading" is a first-person recollection of a pioneer family's attempt to carve a prosperous new life out of the harsh, "inexorable" land around Ismay, Montana, in the early years of this century. Told in a clear, straightforward style, this unsentimental narrative chronicles the backbreaking labors and simple pleasures of pioneer folk scratching out a living in a pitiless and uncooperative terrain. From such workaday details of life as the construction of a house, trapping and hunting, and courtships and funerals, to the encroaching signs of the outside world--county extension agents, the sinking of the "Titanic," and the Great War-- "Homesteading" is a rich and unflinching view of days past in the American West. Never thinking of publication, Percy Wollaston wrote his memoir in the 1970s for his grandchildren and handed the pages to his son, saying, "nothing much, probably not worth the trouble of reading." On the contrary, as Jonathan Raban discovered; the manuscript was one of the chief sources of his bestselling, award-winning "Bad Land." Raban's eloquent Foreword puts Wollaston's narrative in historical and cultural perspective.
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In 1909, Wollaston's (1904-83) parents moved their family to a homestead in Montana. In the 1970s, Wollaston decided to write about his family's homesteading experiences so that his children would ... Read full review