David Laskin was born in New York in 1953 and educated at Harvard College and New College, Oxford. For the past twenty-five years, Laskin has written books and articles on a wide range of subjects, including history, weather, travel, gardens, and the natural world. His most recent book, The Childrens Blizzard, won the Washington State Book Award and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for Nonfiction. A frequent contributor to The New York Times Travel Section, Laskin also writes for the Washington Post, the Seattle Times, and Seattle Metropolitan. He and his wife, Kate ONeill are the parents of three grown daughters and live in Seattle with their two sweet old dogs.
This biography was last updated on 12/04/2010.
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An interview with David Laskin
What exactly was the children's blizzard and why is it still remembered
The event known as the school children's blizzard was a powerful winter storm that swept down on the Upper Midwest on January 12, 1888. Even settlers who had lived in the region for years insisted that they had never seen a storm come down so quickly (many compared it to an explosion or a wall of ice), drop temperatures so rapidly, and reduce visibility so dramatically. The storm hit today's South Dakota (still part of the undivided Dakota Territory at the time) and Nebraska in the middle of a school day (between 11 AM and 2 PM depending on location) -- and many frightened teachers dismissed their one-room country schools. Hundreds of children become lost on the prairie on their way home, hence the name the school children's blizzard.
How did you find the stories of individual families? Are there still descendants of storm victims living in the region?
Families still talk about the 1888 blizzard to this day, and all who had ancestors living in the region have family stories. Through local archives, old newspapers, country cemeteries, ads in local ...
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