The Lone Tree Tragedy: A True Story of Murder in America's Heartland

The Lone Tree Tragedy: A True Story of Murder in America's Heartland

by Bruce Brown

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1985 in Lone Tree, Iowa, well-to-do farmer Dale Burr killed his wife, his banker and a neighbor, then committed suicide. He had feared that he would lose his farm and hence the work of his family for three generations, although that may not have been the case. Using this tragedy as a springboard, Brown ( Mountain in the Clouds ), a third-generation farmer himself, discusses the history of farming in England from the time of Henry VIII to the repeal of the Corn Laws, and in America from colonial days to the present. We learn that in this country, since independence, farmers were subject to cyclical crises until the New Deal and its program of subsidies; in more recent times this program has been almost eliminated and the result has been the increasing failure of family farms. As a true crime tale the book is pedestrian, but as a sermon on the possible grim fate of the American farmer, it is powerful. (Sept.)
Library Journal
On a December day in 1985, Dale Burr, a once prosperous farmer near Lone Tree, Iowa, now fallen on hard times and facing foreclosure, shot and killed his wife of 40 years. Scribbling a note, ``I'm sorry. I just couldn't stand all the problems,'' Burr proceeded to murder his banker and a farmer with whom he had been feuding and then committed suicide. The spare details provided by Brown, a journalist and working farmer, fail to illuminate this tragedy. The author's concern with the larger picture of the American farming crisis sometimes detracts from the specific case of Dale Burr. Still, this is a suitable choice for rural libraries and collections.-- Gregor A. Preston, Univ. of California Lib., Davis
School Library Journal
YA-- Brown uses a tragic series of bewildering murders that occurred in 1985 in Iowa to explore the historical and contemporary problems of farming in America. Farmer Dale Burr killed his wife and two others before killing himself. Exploring the causes of this case, Brown interweaves Burr's life story with the historical progression of events that have brought American farmers to their current crisis. Students can appreciate the book on two levels: as a clear historical overview of farming in the U. S. and as the story of a murderer and his thoughts, reminiscent of Capote's In Cold Blood (Random, 1966) .--Jane Golenko, Pasadena High School, TX

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Crown Publishing Group
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1st ed

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