“The Four Winds seems eerily prescient in 2021 . . . Its message is galvanizing and hopeful: We are a nation of scrappy survivors. We’ve been in dire straits before; we will be again. Hold your people close.”


The authors latest work centers around the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in the Midwest, caused by the great drought. It is a familiar story, the farmers forced to leave their lands, heading to California, the land of Milk and Honey, where the grass is green and jobs are available. When the travelers got there, they were not welcome. Treated like outsiders, and taken advantage of by the rich farmers who could pay them a pittance of their value because if one person didn’t want to work for that meager wage, there was plenty behind them that would.

This story is told through the life of a young lady named Elsa from a small town in the panhandle of Texas. Born into a well to do family she is diagnosed with a heart condition at a very young age, so she is kept mostly in the house, reading her life away As she grows older, an independent streak hits her and she sneaks out and meets a young man named Rafe who she falls in thrall of. One thing leads to another and Elsa must marry Rafe while being disowned by her own family. Rafe’s family reluctantly accepts her. They are farmers. Elsa makes the best of it, growing to love the farm. They have two children, Libbie and a boy named Ant. Everything is great until the drought hits, eventually causing Rafe to abandon his family. Eventually, it become impossible for Elsa and her children to remain on the farm so they head to California, seeking a new life
The rest of the story tells us about the heartbreaking bad times these migrants faced in California. The story is an accurate rendition of things that occurred during these lean years, and through Elsa and her family we learn of these things firsthand.

While the story is somewhat predictable, you can’t help feeling the emotional rollercoaster Elsa goes through, trying to make her family survive. The book is a testament to the many strong and brave woman who kept families together during these lean years, overcoming many obstacles just to survive. It is also a testament to those who made the trip but succumbed to the many illnesses and other conditions by placed in their path, so many of them forgotten today


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 15th March 2021

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Richard Franco