The Homestead Act of 1862: Background information when reading Savage Country

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Savage Country

A Novel

by Robert Olmstead

Savage Country by Robert Olmstead X
Savage Country by Robert Olmstead
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2017, 304 pages
    Sep 4, 2018, 320 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Gary Presley

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Homestead Act of 1862

Sod HouseIt's not mentioned specifically in Robert Olmstead's Savage Country, but his references to settlers driven off the land by crop failures, drought, and other factors might be seen as one of the adverse influences of 1862's Homestead Act, probably the most significant factor in the expansion of the United States across the continent.

Signed into law by Abraham Lincoln, the Act offered 160 acres of "public land" (meaning federal territory) to any head of household. The cost? Eighteen dollars. But there was a condition: "Each homesteader had to live on the land, build a home, make improvements and farm for 5 years before they were eligible to prove up."

Homestead ApplicationOlmstead's novel notes that many of those "homes" on a would-be settler's land were "soddys," homes built from earthen blocks topped by a sod roof. The vast open prairies of the west provided little other building material. Forests were nonexistent. Trees were rare. The "sod busters" (ranchers' term for settlers) began to plow up the ...

Subscribers Only

This article is only available to members at this time, but you can read these articles for free.

About Membership

Member Login

Library Patron Login

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

  • Book Jacket: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Eat the Apple
    Eat the Apple
    by Matt Young
    Truth is stranger than fiction. Matt Young's memoir tackles the space in between truth and ...
  • Book Jacket: Educated
    by Tara Westover
    Tara Westover had the kind of upbringing most of us can only imagine. She was the youngest of seven ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The House of Broken Angels
    by Luis Alberto Urrea

    The definitive Mexican-American immigrant story from an acclaimed storyteller.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Y L D W D, Y'll G U W Fleas

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.