Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Clearing in the West: an autobiography ....

Who was Nellie MClung and why did she write this book? That was the question that drew me into this memoir. Turns out, she was a Canadian writer and politician of the late 19th and early 20th century: one of their suffragettes. Born in 1873, she and her family left there around 1880 to pioneer a new wheat farm in the area of Brandon near Winnipeg. If you loved "Little House on the Prairie" or "Little Women" or "Caddie Woodlawn", you might enjoy this book. The lady was in her 60's when she wrote the book in the early 1930's, yet it seems crisp and young and sprightly with good humor. She explains some of the circumstances that caused many women to support temperance organizations. Somehow it feels as if written by a younger women, closer to our own time. Along with political and social rights for women, Mrs. McClung also supported the idea of Eugenics, which was popular at the time but not so much any more, especially after the actions of the despots of the WWII era. I learned the inspiration for "The Phantom of the Opera" and that men who harvested wheat in late summer preferred raisin pie over all other desserts.

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