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Bad Land: An American Romance
JONATHAN RABAN

Bad Land: An American Romance by Jonathan Raban
46 reviews (1997) (p)
New York TimesĀ® Best Nonfiction Books
ALA Notable Books - Nonfiction Finalist

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Book Description

A New York Times Editors' Choice for Book of the Year
Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award
Winner of the PEN West Creative Nonfiction Award


"No one has evoked with greater power the marriage of land and sky that gives this country both its beauty and its terror. "
--Washington Post Book World

In 1909 maps still identified eastern Montana as the Great American Desert. But in that year Congress, lobbied heavily by railroad companies, offered 320-acre tracts of land to anyone bold or foolish enough to stake a claim to them. Drawn by shamelessly inventive brochures, countless homesteaders--many of them immigrants--went west to make their fortunes. Most failed. In Bad Land, Jonathan Raban travels through the unforgiving country that was the scene of their dreams and undoing, and makes their story come miraculously alive.

In towns named Terry, Calypso, and Ismay (which changed its name to Joe, Montana, in an effort to attract football fans), and in the landscape in between, Raban unearths a vanished episode of American history, with its own ruins, its own heroes and heroines, its own hopeful myths and bitter memories. Startlingly observed, beautifully written, this book is a contemporary classic of the American West.

"Exceptional. . . . A beautifully told historical meditation. "
--Time

"Championship prose. . . . In fifty years don't be surprised if Bad Land is a landmark."
--Los Angeles Times


Amazon.com Review
Jonathan Raban ambles and picks his way across the Montana prairie, called "The Great American Desert" until Congress offered 320-acre tracts of barren land to immigrants with stardust in their eyes. Raban's prose makes love to the waves of land, red dirt roads, and skeletons of homesteads that couldn't survive the Dirty Thirties. As poignant as any romance novel, there's heartbreak in the failed dreams of the homesteaders, a pang of destiny in the arbitrary way railroad towns were thrown into existence, and inspiration in the heroism of people who've fashioned lives for themselves by cobbling together homes from the ruined houses of those who couldn't make it. Through it all, Raban's voice examines and honors the vast open expanses of land and pays homage to the histories of families who eked out an existence.


Other Award Winning Books by Jonathan Raban
Waxwings by Jonathan Raban
19 reviews (2003) (288p) (Amazon)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings by Jonathan Raban
54 reviews (1999) (448p) (Amazon) (ALA Non)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
OLD GLORY by Jonathan Raban
20 reviews (1981) (416p) (NYTimes Non)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

Jonathan Raban Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 2  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 2  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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