Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier by Joanna L. Stratton

Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier by Joanna L. Stratton
Publisher: A Touchstone Book published by Simon and Schuster
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

From a rediscovered collection of autobiographical accounts written by hundreds of Kansas pioneer women in the early twentieth century, Joanna Stratton has created a collection hailed by Newsweek as “uncommonly interesting” and “a remarkable distillation of primary sources.”

Never before has there been such a detailed record of women’s courage, such a living portrait of the women who civilized the American frontier. Here are their stories: wilderness mothers, schoolmarms, Indian squaws, immigrants, homesteaders, and circuit riders. Their personal recollections of prairie fires, locust plagues, cowboy shootouts, Indian raids, and blizzards on the plains vividly reveal the drama, danger and excitement of the pioneer experience.

These were women of relentless determination, whose tenacity helped them to conquer loneliness and privation. Their work was the work of survival, it demanded as much from them as from their men—and at last that partnership has been recognized.

Joanna L. Stratton has taken first-hand accounts of the experiences of hundreds of women of courage making their way to and living in rough territory. The lives of these women were dangerous and exciting. One never knew what would happen.

This book is filled with adventure and unknowns. The people these women encounter were sometimes friendly and sometimes wild and meaning to do harm. Younger and older women lent their voices here.

How could one survive in such risky circumstances? This book brings to life a time when women lacked all modern conveniences. Becoming complacent wasn’t an option.

Reading from the point-of-view of those who were in Kansas at such a wild time is enlightening. This book is worth a look at for those who are interested in Western history or women’s history—an interesting inside view.

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