As I was doing research for the fourth installment of my cozy mystery series (hereafter known as “Jig of Bones”), I ran across this book. It’s not fiction. It’s also not in any way fun to read. It’s horrific, but I think it should be a part of every American’s historical education. It is the story of a blizzard, followed by deep cold, that struck the Great Plains on January 11-13, 1888. The event is sometimes called the school children’s blizzard because so many school children died in it. It came into being when several extreme weather conditions met, and literally exploded into the country from Canada.
The book weaves together the story of the weather that created the storm, the histories and eyewitness accounts of settlers who were affected, the actions of the only weather forecasting system available then (a department of the U.S. Army), and much more to give a fascinating and terrifying “you were there” look at this event.
I cannot imagine living like those early settlers lived, even on their good days. In comparison to them, most of us Americans now are a soft, spoiled, sometimes pathetic, bunch of whiners. I salute them and the determination to survive that they bequeathed to us as a nation.
Please find a copy of this book and read it–only you might want to wait until a very hot day, because it will chill you to the bone.