A Story Relating To Some Aspect Of The U.S Government Book Review – Bad Land, An American Romance

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Book Review – Bad Land, An American Romance

By Jonathan Raban Bad Land: An American Romance Vividly and descriptively describes the efforts of late 19th and early 20th century farmers and ranchers to make a living on highly questionable land. This land, much of eastern Montana and western Dakota, could be described as marginal land, but Raban’s fact-finding mission made it abundantly clear that these lands were less than marginal.

The federal government and railroad companies would benefit from settling in the area. Their advantage: There will be more goods to ship to and from the region, and travel to the region will increase greatly. However, as Ravan documents and, as I have seen first hand, this marginal land has shallow topsoil, heavy wind patterns, low rainfall and extremely cold winters; And, efforts to cultivate dry land were rarely rewarded.

This book was written in a casual, personable manner as the author walked the region and studied some of the failed homesteads. It’s really drama as Ravan explores the remnants of these countless failed homesteads. He even found a book that described the best methods of improving these dry farms. The title of the book was Campbell’s Scientific Dry Farming Techniques And it was subtitled Camel method for Sahara desert and Campbell method for American desert. According to meteorological statistics, any area with an average annual rainfall of less than three inches per year would be classified as a desert area. This eastern Montana area is definitely considered a desert because most of it receives less than three inches of rain per year.

Like Ravan, I have walked this land, but walked for a different reason. I was on the hunt for sharp-tailed grouse and the elusive sage grouse. I was surprised, those many years ago, to see so many remains – the remains of rotting and fallen windmills, broken and gray boards of outbuildings, barns and houses, as well as, bare stone foundations, long-rusted barbed wire fences. , fence posts that were rotting and lying flat on the ground and space – wide open space… endless space. Ravan’s book told the story of the efforts of many brave people to produce on this abysmal homestead, bad land. Government pamphlets and railway brochures were undoubtedly at least false, if not outright false.

Ravan had an inspiring idea to write this story, and he followed through – brilliant inspiration, first-hand research, and highly descriptive writing!

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