On January 12, 1888 an unexpected blizzard came down up the Dakota-Nebraskan plains, killing hundreds of settlers, many of them children trying to make their way home from school. In David Laskin’s book, The Children’s Blizzard he explores the causes of this disaster – meteorological and human – the devastation it brought, and the blizzard’s lasting effects – among settlers, national weather forecasting, and the plains today. He also focuses on several families in particular, and told the stories of how the members fared that day, what dreams had brought each them out into this unsettled land, and how many of those dreams were shattered in a matter of hours.
This book was SAD. Obviously, it is not light material. As I began the book I kept thinking how the characters Laskin introduced were likely to die in the upcoming chapters. The history is fascinating aw well, as you think of how all these seemingly unrelated events become so important when a natural disaster catches everyone by surprise. Anyone interested in US history, especially westward expansion, should not miss this book. It’s heartbreaking and terrifying.