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Land of the Burnt Thigh

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  144 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
A fascinating memoir of homesteading in South Dakota in the early twentieth century.
Paperback, 332 pages
Published October 15th 1986 by Minnesota Historical Society Press (first published 1938)
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(showing 1-30 of 281)
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Oct 31, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Oh this book! So many things to think about. Two young and very tiny sisters move out west for the last round of homesteading in the United States during the early 1900s. I always love the independent woman success story, which this is, in its way. They leave Chicago unprepared, with no money, little supplies - just the overwhelming desire to start a new life and have something of their own. The book is long, although the majority of it covers just two years. I kept looking back - all of this ha ...more
Apr 04, 2008 Robyn rated it it was amazing
This book is an incredible insight into the lives of the men, women and children who "conquered" South Dakota. Centered around "Women Homesteaders", this book is not only educational but also humorous. When you're feeling like life's not being fair because your computer has crashed, your car has broken down or your ATM card was eaten by a machine, try reading "Land of the Burnt Thigh" and realize just how lucky we are in this era! ;D Definitely a very good book which I would recommend to anyone ...more
Jan 26, 2012 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007-books

I just finished reading Land of the Burnt Thigh (Borealis Books) by Edith Eudora Kohl. I found this book on our trip, but didn't have the money to buy it... I bought it from Amazon on payday. It was a really good book... I'm glad I bought it to read. I didn't think of homesteading as something that happened with in the last 100 years... but it was. if you are curious about what it was like... get this book... She really tells the story well. its not just about her and her sister, but also abou
Nov 19, 2014 Bonnie_blu rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, memoir
This semi-autobiograhical book tells the story of Edith and Ida Mary Ammons, two young women, who set out to homestead in South Dakota in 1907 when the land was opened by the U.S. government. I say "semi-autobiographical" because Edith wrote about Ida Mary and her experiences as two single women on the prairie, but also included events from the lives of other single women who became homesteaders. I was surprised by how many women took on the challenges of homesteading by themselves. According to ...more
Yvonne Desa
Great read. I didn't realize there were so many single Pioneer women who had settled the west.loved the humor laced into the book along with the real life harsh conditions. I'm so proud of the strong women who came before me & others who took charge of their lives and gave us all the courage to take charge of our lives and the future of this country.
Aug 05, 2015 Cindy rated it liked it
This book is set about 30 miles south of my hometown. I am not sure if it is a fiction or non fiction story. I would lean towards fiction. The author introduces the book by writing,this is not my story-it is the story of the people, the pioneers that settled on the public lands called the Great American Desert. This book is about the Ammons sisters. They traveled west from St.Louis to make a home in South Dakota. Making a homestead claim was hard work. They battled drought, prairie fires and bru ...more
Oct 06, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it
Found this book on the shelf when we visited Badlands National Park. I really didn't know anything about the women who homesteaded and were so critical in settling so much of the west! This story was incredible - two completely unprepared young white women from Chicago brave challenges I can't begin to imagine and become important figures in the settling of South Dakota. WOW! From thin air, they built a newspaper, ran the USPS, opened a store / trading post and certainly most impressive of all, ...more
Mackenzie Roebuck-walsh
The spirit of the pioneer - specifically the pioneer woman shines through in this true tail of adventure and life!
Jul 06, 2015 Madalene rated it it was amazing
This book is a satisfying read for those who have read everything related to Laura Ingalls Wilder. With the same understanding that this is not strictly autobiography, it is a telling of a woman and her sister who homestead in South Dakota a mere 30-ish years after Wilder's family does. While there are parts clearly written for the audience who read it in 1938 when it was first published (a heavy emphasis on drought and what farming techniques worked for it), mostly it is an exciting and pretty ...more
Feb 13, 2012 Elisabeth rated it it was amazing
This book is probably the most amazing and engrossing memoir I've ever read. First published in 1938, it is Edith Eudora Kohl's account of homesteading in South Dakota with her sister in the first decade of the 20th century. One point that she stresses in this book is that the American frontier lasted much longer that is usually acknowledged—a fact I'd noted before in the late setting of many Western novels by authors who lived at that time. The last wave of pioneers, one of the largest, continu ...more
Jim Angstadt
May 10, 2015 Jim Angstadt rated it really liked it
Two sisters leave St. Lewis in 1907 to homestead in south central South Dakota.
The Oklahoma Land Rush has come and gone. Now it's happening in South Dakota.
Get a quarter section and make a life for yourself!
Barely into their 20's, Edith and Ida Mary Ammons struggle to build a home and a community.
Like other homesteaders, they are one bad break away from ruin and death.
Their story is told in a simple, plain, understated way.
The risks are real, the work is never ending, but so is the goodness and
May 31, 2015 Crizzle rated it it was ok
I think this was written much in the way the Little House books were - kind of a fictionalized memoir, set in central South Dakota.

I never knew before reading the intro that there were many single women homesteaders! That trend reached its peak during WWI. Edith wrote that "a woman had more independence here than in any other part of the world", and I love seeing her character development of her sister and her.

However, I did NOT love her racism. The descriptions of the Native Americans had me ro
Dec 07, 2014 Roxanne rated it it was amazing
Engaging historical memoir of two sisters who homestead in South Dakota in 1907. Lovely woodblock prints preface each chapter.

Worth rereading in context.
Joan Horkey
Jun 13, 2015 Joan Horkey rated it it was amazing
Very interesting story of two sisters who homesteaded in the early 1900s.
Mar 29, 2015 Lindsey rated it really liked it
Surprisingly well-written, non-sentimental account of two years homesteading in the Dakotas in the early 1900s. You learn so much history but it's never dry, and it has just the right amount of romantic musings about the land and the future of the prairie. Tedious at times, but you can skim bits and still follow the story line.
Thea Nicholas
Jun 05, 2015 Thea Nicholas rated it really liked it
not alot of intimate detail, but sure does keep me interested!
Lauren Simison
I read this book many years ago. The story was fresh and told the true story of two sisters who were granted homestead land in Dakota Territory. It told of their struggles from little things like burying water in jars in the dirt to the greatest fear of all - prarie fires. A truly facinating look into a little known part of our history - single pioneer women trying to establish a homestead on their own.
George Copley
Aug 26, 2012 George Copley rated it it was amazing
a tale of the exploits of the women of the west who took up homesteading and open up land for development and earlier entrepreneurial endeavours. a good read for anyone interested in non-traditional roles and the credit given to the many women who chose a difficult, but rewarding role for themselves away from the city and family...
BJ Schall
Jan 24, 2011 BJ Schall rated it really liked it
I found this book to be much more enjoyable than I anticipated. I was fearful of a dry narrative with little substance on a boring topic. However, I was pleasantly surprised with Kohl's writing style, and the book was definitely worth reading for anyone interested in the population booms of South Dakota.
Apr 01, 2010 Lindsey rated it liked it
My mom raved about this book, and then when I tried to talk to her about it after I read it, it turned out she didn't even remember what it was about. It is kind of impressive what these women did, though--assuming some or all of it is true. And now I'm even more scared of rattlesnakes. Thanks, Mom.
Oct 29, 2008 Lizzi rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, own
If you enjoyed These Is My Words you will surely enjoys this book of two sisters homesteading South Dakota in the early 1900s. A great account of two independent women on the frontier making a go of homesteading.
Oct 23, 2015 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it
Enjoyable and inspiring story of 2 20-somethings, sisters from St. Louis, who homesteaded South Dakota in 1907 through drought, blizzard, prairie fire, rattlesnakes, you name it.
Aug 04, 2009 Rebecca rated it did not like it
BORING! That sums up how I feel about this book. Nothing to keep me interested. It was a very short easy read, yet it took me forever to trugde through it.
Jan 22, 2010 Bruce rated it really liked it
Fascinating true story of two women who braved late 19th century South Dakota Territory, started a newspaper, and more impressively, survived. A great book.
Oct 25, 2014 summershots rated it really liked it
The writing is not the best but a first person account of two women homesteading near Pierre, South Dakota in the early 1900s.
Nov 21, 2008 Cws added it
900(978.3) Koh
Oct 04, 2009 Connie rated it really liked it
I had no idea single women were so adventurous 100 or more years ago. They had to overcome a lot in order to survive and then they ended up feeling a since of satifaction in all they had done.
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