Home on the Range
A Century on the High Plains
James R. Dickenson
Home on the Range chronicles the epic drama of the settling and development of the High Plains, as viewed through the saga of journalist James Dickenson's family and the wheat-farming community of McDonald, Kansas.
With a reporter's sharp eye for detail and human drama, as well as a lucid understanding of the grand sweep of history, Dickenson paints a highly personal portrait of American rural life and its tenacious struggle to survive. By turns lyrical, nostalgic, and unflinchingly realistic, Dickenson weaves a fascinating narrative in which shootouts, lynchings, human chicanery, and nature's treachery test the community's unswerving faith in hard work, tradition, and themselves.
“A thoroughly readable story of the Dickenson family and the part of the country from which they come, a land of dust storms, ghost towns, and good country people. I was surprised at book’s end by the degree to which I had been touched by the tale of how McDonald continues to hold out against the elements and the odds. Anyone who has spent time in a small town will warm to this book. Anyone in the business of passing laws that affect the daily life of small towns ought to read it with special care.”
—Washington Post Book World
“Dickenson’s story is something of a rural everyman’s tale. . . . It records the passage of the nation from agrarian innocence to international player and shows how these changes affected the once small but prosperous farming community. His warm, full prose is as engaging and inviting as the people about whom he writes and clearly cherishes.”
—Library JournalSee all reviews...
“Dickenson interviewed individuals from all walks of life—farmers, ranchers, laborers, merchants, high school athletes, bankers, lawyers, soldiers, politicians, homemakers, newspaper publishers, preachers, teachers, and writers—to illustrate the larger historical landscapes he paints. Readers will be inspired by the affection he holds for the land and people of the plains, and they will appreciate the problems of surviving there.”
“Dickenson’s book is a mixture of fond memories and factual nuggets that prove Kansas is an appealing, rather remarkable place by any standard. It is of course a microcosm of America, the bittersweet story of a journey to the stars and its many detours and visits to the ditch.”
—Kansas City Star
“Every once in a while an authentic jewel of a book comes along that makes me want to shout to the world: Read this! You'll love it! I hereby so shout that about Home on the Range. It is a beautifully written story of a people and a place that is really about us all. It is a jewel that should be treasured and shared.”
—Jim Lehrer, The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour
“This is not history from the bottom up, but from the inside out—life on the High Plains experienced viscerally, then reflected on shrewdly; a rare combination of emotion and analysis. He gives us a whole way of life simultaneously being lived and being lost.”
—Garry Wills, author of Lincoln at GettysburgSee fewer reviews...