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Bones of Plenty

Lois Phillips Hudson

Publication Year: 1984

It is possible . . .that literary historians of the future will decide that The Bones of Plenty was the farm novel of the Great Drought of the 1920s and 1930s and the Great Depression. Better than any other novel of the period with which I am familiar, Lois Phillips Hudson's story presents, with intelligence and rare understanding, the frightful disaster that closed thousands of rural banks and drove farmers off their farms, the hopes and savings of a lifetime in ruins about them.--New York Times Book Review "Hudson does a superb job of revealing the physical texture of farm life on the prairie--its sounds, smells, colors, sensations. Then she goes further, examining the spiritual texture as well. Her characters are bound to each other and to their land in a kind of harsh intimacy from which there is no relief. Weather, poverty, anger, and pride are the forces that drive them and ultimately wear them down. . . Like the best books of any era, it convinces us of its characters' enduring humanity, and surprises us, again and again, with the depth of emotion it makes us feel."--Minneapolis Star Tribune "At her best, Lois Phillips Hudson can make the American Ordeal of the 1930s so real that you can all but feel the gritty dust in your teeth."--Omaha World-Herald

Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press

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Preface

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pp. vii-xi

IN HIS INTRODUCTION to Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building (1980), Richard Drinnon remarks, "The record of history is nearly barren of authentically novel responses to novel circumstances." If I can be forgiven for beginning this preface to a new edition of The Bones of Plenty with a pun, I will say that the tragic fact he states so succinctly does, indeed, constitute a major impetus for the writing of many novels, including this one. ...

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I

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pp. 14-164

FOR NINE YEARS George Custer had picked rocks out of the three hundred and twenty acres he rented from James T. Viele, but still the wheat fields were not clear enough to suit him. Nothing made him madder than to hook into a big rock with a freshly sharpened plowshare or mower sickle. This late in the winter he had finished all the odd jobs that he saved for cold weather, and on a morning like this, ...

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II

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pp. 165-365

EVERY DAY the temperature climbed a little higher. At four in the morning the house was already hot enough to wake the blue-bottle flies and send them buzzing and bumbling over the faces of humans trying to sleep. The pastures were dry and brown. At dinner George said to Lucy, "I've got a good kid job for you this afternoon. ...

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III

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pp. 367-435

THERE WAS a wide gate on the south side of Highway Number 10, and attached to the gate was a fence that went along the highway and then around the base of an unusually steep hilI that was dotted thickly with big square stones. The gray-white lintel of the gate was scarcely distinguishable from the dusty snow on the hilI behind it, but the black letters - CALVARY - stood out upon it. ...

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Author's Note

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pp. 437-439

IN 1933 this nation was closer to political collapse than it has ever been since the Civil War. In these present days of affluence it is hard to believe that so many of us could have been so poor less than a generation ago. The war-tainted prosperity that began in 1941 makes the preceding dozen years seem shorter and farther away than they really are. This abnormally elongated perspective with which I must deal has led me to employ some verbatim reminders. ...


E-ISBN-13: 9780873518123
E-ISBN-10: 0873518128
Print-ISBN-13: 9780873511759
Print-ISBN-10: 0873511751

Page Count: 439
Publication Year: 1984

Edition: 1

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Depressions -- Fiction.
  • Droughts -- Fiction.
  • North Dakota -- Fiction.
  • Western stories. -- gsafd.
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