In 1888, an arctic air mass came down from Canada and pummelled the Midwest.
Many Northern European immigrants, as well as Irish, British and people from the eastern states, came to the prairie's to start a new life.
Land was abundant.
The New Frontier.
But during the winter of that year, it turned disastrous.
It was called 'The School Children's Blizzard' because the loss of life was dominated by the hundreds of children trying to make their way home.
Some lived only minutes from the schoolhouse.
Some were with parents, helping secure animals in barns.
David Laskin tells a chilling (mind the pun) tale of the mistakes made by the U.S Army Signal Corps who were responsible for sending out weather forecasts in a timely fashion.
In three minutes, the cold front dropped 18 degrees F and kept dropping.
The winds were fierce.
The snow was more like falling ice.
By morning, frozen bodies lay strewn across the Dakota-Nebraska prairie.
Although a bit tedious in parts when talking about technical terms, it is an incredible history lesson.
People were forever changed by this storm and the stories told by descendants of those who survived are simply heart wrenching and incredible.
Most of the time I was reading this book, it was at bedtime.
I was snuggled up in my comforter, mug of warm milk in hand.
I couldn't imagine these children in their tiny leather shoes, short pants and dresses, trying to survive the night in these most extreme conditions...
but some of them did.
Another book which has left me in awe of the strength of the human condition.
If you like to read about weather, you'll learn a lot.
If you like history, you'll learn a lot.
I tried to find images for this post and then I slapped myself, thinking...
"I'm sure they weren't thinking about taking photos."