A Dust Bowl Book of Days, 1932
By the early 1930s, dust storms ripped across America’s drought-stricken Great Plains. Living on the northernmost edge of the Dust Bowl, South Dakotans grappled with the natural extremes and economic depression of the era. Many lost their farms and left the state. Others moved to town and fought to survive.
A Dust Bowl Book of Days invites readers into the day-to-day life of Margaret Spader Neises as she cares for her family. She bears witness to her husband’s work struggles, her children’s illnesses, and the forces of nature beyond her control. Margaret’s fears give rise to pithy, poignant observations. Whether documenting the escapades of a young temptress, her family’s attempts to stay one step ahead of the banker, or her own whimsies, Margaret creates a vivid portrait of her life in simple prose.
Author Craig Volk draws on the Great Depression-era diaries of his grandmother Margaret and an unpublished memoir of his mother, Joan Neises Volk to showcase the women who preserved and guided their families through adversity. By synthesizing numerous short entries written throughout the thirties into the single year of 1932, Volk crafts an engaging narrative that provides unique insight into daily life amid hard times.