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Book brings history of Dust Bowl to life

Bismarck I'm inspired to spread the word on a book I recently stumbled upon. "The Green Coat: A Tale From the Dust Bowl Years," (Bezalelbooks.com) brings a part of North Dakota history alive in an intriguing way while inspiring us to count our ow...

Bismarck

I'm inspired to spread the word on a book I recently stumbled upon. "The Green Coat: A Tale From the Dust Bowl Years," (Bezalelbooks.com) brings a part of North Dakota history alive in an intriguing way while inspiring us to count our own blessings.

Rosemary McDunn is a middle-school teacher in Michigan. Her novel, which is being taught in English and social studies classes, is actually a biographical tale of her own mother's life during the 1930s in the Fargo area. It is a moving story of a young brother and sister experiencing hardship and separation from their parents as they struggle to survive an extreme period in our history - the worst ecological disaster of all times.

A couple of years ago, I met a woman in a Bismarck nursing home with stories of her own to tell of trying to raise young children during these dusty, trying times. She told of the impossibility of escaping the dirt that blew into every nook and cranny of their lives. Even meals were inevitably mixed with the crunching of dirt between their teeth. Drought combined with overworking the land and high winds swept away topsoil and literally took people's breath away, sometimes to the point of death through dust pneumonia.

The woman I met inspired me to investigate that part of our history. I was in awe at the decade-long revolt of Mother Nature that so many survived here. This message from our past is especially relevant today as so many of us worry about the economy and other hardships.

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My kids also loved this book, so parents who like to tell their kids to eat their vegetables because there are starving kids in the world will love such an opportunity to encourage feelings of gratitude. By comparison, our lives are so much easier.

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