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Pirates of the Prairie : A True Story

Bergeson, Eric

7 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0972190023 / ISBN 13: 9780972190022
Published by Myers House LLC, West Des Moines, Iowa, 2008
Condition: Very Good Soft cover
From Glued To The Tube Books (Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

"In the 1920s, farms started to mechanize, and their numbers began a prolonged decline, a trend that has continued. As the rural population decreased, the country schools closed, and the districts consolidated with the closest town school. The Halstad school population increased with the influx of rural boys and girls. During World War II, a second farm prosperity gave a second short-lived spurt to business on Main Street. It was during this period that the story took place-a story about a small community whose high school athletes earned their way to two state tournaments where they achieved third place in basketball and first place in baseball. In each case they faced teams from Austin, the largest high school in Minnesota at the time." {Hiram M. Drache}. This book has 330 pages and is illustrated. Bookseller Inventory # 054831

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Pirates of the Prairie : A True Story

Publisher: Myers House LLC, West Des Moines, Iowa

Publication Date: 2008

Binding: Pictorial Softcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Edition: Not Given

About this title


Pirates on the Prairie chronicles the achievements of a remarkable group of athletes who explode out of tiny Halstad, Minnesota, in 1952 to take the state by storm. Bergeson does more than follow the exploits of a high school basketball team and a high school baseball team. He takes the reader back in time by tracing the history of northwestern Minnesota and describing how the early Norwegians settled the land. He outlines the hardships faced by these hardy Scandinavians as they built schools, churches, and businesses. Bergeson also highlights Halstad's famous native, Skitch Henderson, who was Johnny Carson's first bandleader on The Tonight Show. Lute Olson, former area resident and University of Arizona men's basketball coach, says "Reading Pirates on the Prairie was a look into my own Midwestern Scandinavian background." In his book, Bergeson explains that World War I brought prosperity to the Red River Valley area. But, while the country was enjoying Babe Ruth, the Great Gatsby, and Charles Lindberg, the rural economy was declining. Just as Sinclair Lewis in Main Street punctured the balloon of the small town mystique, the market system dismantled the family farm. A mass exodus from farming began despite the efforts of Franklin Roosevelt, the WPA, and the REA. Then Bergeson turns his attention to a group of boys growing up in Minnesota. He traces the development of these players and their families while vividly bringing to life the environment that nourished them. Bergeson takes the reader through the exciting 1952 season and the pivotal game with the Thief River Falls Prowlers that propels the Halstad Pirates to the Minnesota State Basketball Tournament in Minneapolis. Gradually, Pirates on the Prairie answers the fundamental question: How did this improbable story happen? At the same time, the reader detects a foreboding undercurrent-a story of loss. For the book also documents a profound change in rural American culture that is felt today.

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