Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm during the Great Depression


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by Mildred Armstrong Kalish


According to the New York Times Book Review, this book is “one of the 10 best books of the year”. A different sort of memoir that doesn’t focus on the hard times, Kalish teaches the reader what life was like as a rural, rigid Methodist Iowan. She never feels sorry for herself although circumstances of her childhood—including a banished father—were quite bleak. Kalish loved her childhood, and one of her most-used phrases is “it was quite a romp”.

Kalish took the values of her youth right on to college, became a highly respected professor, wrote this award-winning best seller, and has made the rounds on network TV programs. Ted Kooser, former U.S. Poet Laureate, compared this book to Hamlin Garland’s “A Son of the Middle Border”. If you lived through The Great Depression, this small book packed with joy will awaken your soul. If you didn’t live through the Depression, you will glean some valuable history lessons.