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The children's blizzard

Author: David Laskin
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, ©2004.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The gripping story of an epic prairie snowstorm that killed hundreds of newly arrived settlers and cast a shadow on the promise of the American frontier. January 12, 1888, began as an unseasonably warm morning across Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Minnesota, the weather so mild that children walked to school without coats and gloves. But that afternoon, without warning, the atmosphere suddenly, violently changed. One  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biography
History
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: David Laskin
ISBN: 0060520752 9780060520755
OCLC Number: 56955786
Description: ix, 307 p. : map ; 24 cm.
Contents: Departures and Arrivals --
Trials --
Disturbance --
Indications --
Cold Front --
Explosion --
God's Burning Finger --
Exposure --
Prairie Dawn --
Sunday --
Heroines --
Aftermath.
Responsibility: David Laskin.

Abstract:

The gripping story of an epic prairie snowstorm that killed hundreds of newly arrived settlers and cast a shadow on the promise of the American frontier. January 12, 1888, began as an unseasonably warm morning across Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Minnesota, the weather so mild that children walked to school without coats and gloves. But that afternoon, without warning, the atmosphere suddenly, violently changed. One moment the air was calm; the next the sky exploded in a raging chaos of horizontal snow and hurricane-force winds. Temperatures plunged as an unprecedented cold front ripped through the center of the continent. By Friday morning, January 13, some five hundred people lay dead on the drifted prairie, many of them children who had perished on their way home from country schools. In a few terrifying hours, the hopes of the pioneers had been blasted by the bitter realities of their harsh environment. Recent immigrants from Germany, Norway, Denmark, and the Ukraine learned that their free homestead was not a paradise but a hard, unforgiving place governed by natural forces they neither understood nor controlled. With the storm as its dramatic, heartbreaking focal point, The Children's Blizzard captures this pivotal moment in American history by tracing the stories of five families who were forever changed that day. Drawing on family interviews and memoirs, as well as hundreds of contemporary accounts, David Laskin creates an intimate picture of the men, women, and children who made choices they would regret as long as they lived. Here too is a meticulous account of the evolution of the storm and the vain struggle of government forecasters to track its progress. The blizzard of January 12, 1888, is still remembered on the prairie. Children fled that day while their teachers screamed into the relentless roar. Husbands staggered into the blinding wind in search of wives. Fathers collapsed while trying to drag their children to safety. In telling the story of this meteorological catastrophe, the deadliest blizzard ever to hit the prairie states, David Laskin has produced a masterful portrait of a tragic crucible in the settlement of the American heartland.

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For a book about the weather, this is a great read!

by shenlib (WorldCat user published 2006-09-20) Excellent Permalink
I would recommend this book on so many levels. First, it paints a picture of who lived on the Great Plains during this time and why they moved there—what they left behind and whether or not it lived up to promises made to them. Second, it includes so much science which is written in understandable...
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