About this book
In telling the story of five generations of her family and its farm in the Arkansas Delta, Margaret Jones Bolsterli brings together her own research, historical perspective, and family lore as it reaches her from the days of her great-grandfather down to her nephew. The result is a family saga that is at once universal and personal, historical and timeless.
During Wind and Rain moves from the land’s acquisition in 1848 through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the 1927 Flood, the Great Depression, and the drought of 1930 to the modern considerations of mechanization, fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation. The transformation of dense swamp and forest to today’s commercial agriculture is the story of two hundred acres worked by people sowing their fate with sweat, ingenuity, and luck.
From the hoes of Bolsterli’s great-grandfather Uriah’s time to her nephew Casey’s machinery capable of cultivating an acre in five minutes, During Wind and Rain poignantly portrays five generations of farmers motivated by dreams of “a crop so good that the memory of it can warm the drafty floors of adversity for the rest of one’s life.”
About the author
Margaret Jones Bolsterli is the author of Born in the Delta and the editor of Vinegar Pie and Chicken Bread and A Remembrance of Eden. She is a professor emerita of English at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
“The romance, foolhardiness, and grit that define farming and the American agrarian dream come charging to life in this loving but realistic account of one family, one Arkansas delta farm from the Civil War to the present—a place that shaped, in Bolsterli’s words, ‘the landscape of our minds.’”
—Jo McDougall, author of Dirt and Towns Facing Railroads
“I wondered as I read During Wind and Rain what families in the Delta would recognize their family in the Jones story. Many, I suspect . . . I loved the way the family history is woven into the story of the land.”
—Mary Gay Shipley, owner, That Bookstore in Blytheville
“If this richly endowed and sadly altered land could tell its own story, Bolsterli’s family saga comes as close to it as I can imagine. In a voice both elegant and wise, this native daughter, returned to a Delta world transformed almost but not quite beyond recognition, recounts what was lost and gained by those who over many generations made a life as well as a living from this ground.”
—Grey Osterud, Rural Women’s Studies Association
“Treated within a broad context and written in clear, graceful prose, this work effectively combines meticulous scholarship with the author’s own first-hand knowledge of a particular place, its people and their culture, to produce a multi-dimensional story that reveals, with great skill and sensitivity, the forces that shaped the lives of multiple generations of her family. This volume will be read with much pleasure and great profit.”
—Willard Gatewood, co-editor of The Arkansas Delta: Land of Paradox