In the community

Vale Book Club reads Depression-era tale, ‘Four Winds’

“The Four Winds,” an epic novel of love, heroism and hope set against the backdrop of America’s Great Depression, will be discussed at the March 2 meeting of the Vale Book Club.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the home of Carol Spears, 683 Cottage St. S., Vale. Theda Craig will facilitate the discussion.

Author Kristen Hannah has characterized her work as honoring the unsung women of the Dust Bowl who “worked from sunup to sundown, toiled on wheat farms until we were as dry and baked as the land we loved.”

The story follows Eliza Wolcott Martinelli, who was rejected by her own family as an unwed mother but taken into her husband’s loving family who taught her how to farm and accepted her need to obsessively clean, and encouraged her dedication to her children. She is ultimately forced to leave the farm for California to seek one of the supposedly plentiful jobs, some of her experiences echoing those described by John Steinbeck in “The Grapes of Wrath.” The descriptions of the unrelenting damage from the dust storms are particularly riveting.

Elsa learns that a full day’s work is not fairly rewarded, and she experiences the greed and ruthlessness of large corporate farm organizations that exploited the poverty-stricken migrants as outsiders who are not to be treated as human beings.  The efforts to unionize are seen as communist subversiveness. This timid woman eventually joins her neighbors in tragic protest.

 “The Radium Girls” by Kate Moore will be discussed at the club’s April l3 meeting.

Information about the club is available from Lucy Hutchens, 208-739-6954, or Marge Mitchell, 208-739-6777.

Note: Review information was obtained from St. Martin’s Press, and online from USA Today Books and 

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