Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Empire of Dust: Settling and Abandoning the Prairie Dry Belt

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Empire of Dust: Settling and Abandoning the Prairie Dry Belt

Article excerpt

David C. Jones, Empire of Dust: Settling and Abandoning the Prairie Dry Belt (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2002), xx + 316pp. $29.95. Paper. ISBN 1-5523-8085-8.

When white explorers first rediscovered the North American Great Plains they named them the 'Great American Desert'. It was not thought that they were capable of cultivation until after the American Civil War. In the United States much of the Great Plains were turned over to the cultivation of wheat. In Canada wheat cultivation in the corresponding Prairie region did not begin until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In many ways the Canadian Prairies represented an extension of the American Frontier which had been declared closed by the United States Bureau of the Census in 1890. As David C. Jones reveals in this study of the development of grain cultivation on the periphery of the Canadian Prairies, many of the settlers came from south of the border.

This is a reissue of Jones's classic book on Prairie history, which was first published in 1984. It is a narrative history that uses the experiences of various individuals to tell the story of the boom and bust of grain cultivation in southwestern Saskatchewan and south-eastern Alberta. …

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