The Big Empty
The Great Plains in the Twentieth Century
Using the voices of women homesteaders, agrarian socialists, Jewish farmers, Mexican meatpackers, New Dealers, and Native Americans, this book creates a sweeping survey of contested race relations, radical politics, and agricultural prosperity and decline during the twentieth century. This narrative shows that even though Great Plains history is fraught with personal and group tensions, violence, and distress, the twentieth century also brought about compelling social, economic, and political change.
The only book of its kind, this account will be of interest to historians studying the region and to anyone inspired by the story of the men and women who found an opportunity for a better life in the Great Plains.
"This is an important book because it dares to take on--with much success--a topic, a region, and indeed a state of mind, none of which can be defined without considerable ambiguity or controversy. Hurt approaches the Great Plains primarily through social history, but also incorporates environmental, economic, and political history masterfully in this synthesis." --David Vaught, author of After the Gold Rush: Tarnished Dreams in the Sacramento Valley