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The Children's Blizzard
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April 2019: History > The Children's Blizzard 4 stars

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message 1: by Joanne (last edited Apr 14, 2019 01:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7112 comments The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin 4 stars

This is a horrific story of The Blizzard of 1888, that came down from Canada and devastated Minnesota, The Dakotas, Iowa and Nebraska.

The first section of the book, David Laskin chronicles the journey of five families as they left Europe or the East Coast and struck out on the plains to make their mark. They were given the freedom to homestead, on unforgiving land with unpredictable weather.

The first half of the book gives background on these families, so when you finally get to the storm you are aching inside for all that is lost. Also covered in the first half is an intense history of the Signal Corps(those responsible for relaying daily weather ) and the earliest meteorologists. There was a lot of data on how weather was forcasted, the politics of the day and a lot of scientific data on weather. I struggled through this part of the book, but others who are more informed or educated in science may enjoy the history of it.

It is called "The Children's Blizzard" because children were caught in the schoolhouses when the Blizzard struck. January 12th 1888 dawned unseasonably warm, and they left their homes in thin clothing, without boots and cold weather gear. When the storm began, it is reported, it was one huge black cloud. The snow that came from it was fine as sand and as hard as glass. The winds gusted near 60 miles an hour, and the temperature dropped to 40 degrees below zero. Those that ventured out into the storm were immediately covered in ice. Their eyes and noses passages frozen, unable to stand or move into the wind.

I appreciate good research and Laskin did well on that. Contacting relatives and historical societies where the devastation occurred. He unearthed enough material to really give you a connection to their lives. He tells a vivid account of people and animals freezing to death. These sections were extremely graphic and were hard reading.

I enjoyed the writing of this author enough to search out other books he has written.

message 2: by LibraryCin (new) - added it

LibraryCin | 8018 comments I thought this was very good, as well. I remember a few scenes from it, though it would have been over 10 years ago since I read it (before shelfari).

Ellen | 2051 comments I read this one several years ago and was impressed by the author and horrified by the story.

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