Homesteading by Percy Wollaston

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"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.

About Percy Wollaston

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Percy Wollaston was born in 1904. After moving from Ismay, he worked for the Montana Power Company until his retirement. He died in 1983.
Published September 1, 1997 by Lyons Press. 156 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Raban, who contributes a foreword to this book, made literature of Wollaston's life, but Wollaston is no slouch as a writer himself.

Oct 01 1997 | Read Full Review of Homesteading

Publishers Weekly

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""We are all of us pioneers in our time, wearing the clothes that are most suitable, making the best of the present situation and learning to cope with new conditions."" Wollaston's arresting, plain-spoken yet hardly simplistic descriptions of pre-WWI homesteading on the finally infertile Montana...

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