Review: "Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie" by O.E. Rolvaag

  • Posted on: 14 January 2016
  • By: TedG
Jack reporting
We met Thursday night, January 7th. The turnout was large—10 members including Ron, Adrian, Ed, John, Angelo, Mark, Art, Irv, Chuck and Jack.  We had a broad ranging discussion focusing largely on immigrant stories from our own experience (parents, grandparents, ourselves) and on what it took for people to leave their families, homes, communities, everything familiar, to emigrate—fear, optimism, hope, guts, and some undefined spark that allows one to risk everything and embrace the unknown.  
Immigration has been a common theme in our recent readings—The Warmth of Other Suns, Orphan Train, and even The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace.  Some thoughts distilled from the discussion were:
  • that immigrants tended to be better equipped than those who stayed behind to withstand the rigors of the experience—smarter, more creative, more optimistic, stronger;
  • community, even a small, fragile community, was critically important to the survival of all for physical support as well as emotional support;
  • How would we personally adapt to their circumstances?  Likely we could, but wouldn't seek it out like some of our back-to-the-land friends of ours—our comforts are too dear.  
The book was highly rated: an average of 4.85 for Readability and 4.95 for Interest. All said they would read another book by the author.