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Small-town Boy, Small-town Girl: Growing Up in South Dakota, 1920-1950

by Eric B. Fowler Sheila Delaney Molly Patrick Rozum

(front flap) Dissimilar in size and separated by more than two hundred miles, the two towns have more in common than might appear at first glance. Elsewhere in the country, they would be considered small towns, but in South Dakota, they are urban population centers. In the first half of the twentieth century, when many more South Dakotans lived on farms and ranches than do today, towns such as Milbank and Mitchell formed hubs for commerce, social activities, and culture. Eric Fowler and Sheila Delaney looked at their communities from different viewpoints, but their childhood and young adult memories of South Dakota share common themes of life away from the farm. Fowler dealt with the hardships of a low-income, single-parent family in Milbank. Delaney experienced the wealth and occasional grandeur of Mitchell's social elite. Both found respite and youthful joy in mid-century South Dakota urban life. Despite the differences in Fowler and Delaney's circumstances, these two contrasting memoirs bring forth commonalities in the authors' early experiences of small-town life, even while they followed differing paths to adulthood.

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