As a grown man, Percy Wollaston almost never spoke of the homestead where he grew up--until, in 1972, nearing the age of 70, he wrote this book about his childhood years.
Lured by the government's promise of land and the promotional literature of the railroads, six-year-old Percy Wollaston's family left behind their home in North Dakota in 1909, heading West to "take up a claim." They settled near Ismay, Montana, where they attempted to carve a successful homestead out of the harsh plains. In compelling, plainspoken language, Wollaston tells of his pioneer family's everyday existence--constructing a sod house, digging a well, trapping and hunting, courtships and funerals, an influenza epidemic, and a superstitious Irish neighbor. He also recalls the events of the world beyond Ismay, from the sinking of the Titanic, to Prohibition, to World War I, as well as the first sign of the town's demise during the Great Depression.
With a foreword by Jonathan Raban, who discovered this memoir while researching his award-winning Bad Land, Homesteading is a rich and vivid look, seen through the eyes of a hopeful young boy, at the forces that shaped the destiny of a family, a town, and the American West.
"Vivid . . . plainly written and satisfyingly detailed."--The Washington Post