Pirates on the Prairie: A True Story

Pirates on the Prairie: A True Story


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Pirates on the Prairie: A True Story by Eric Bergeson

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780972190022
Publisher: Myers House, LLC
Publication date: 11/01/2008
Pages: 330
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

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