Friday, March 9, 2018

Thieves, Rascals and Sore Losers: The Unsettling History of the Dirty Deals that Helped Settle Nebraska


I received a free digital copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 Stars

I'm not from Nebraska but I have lived here long enough that some might consider it my home. I am not one of those people, as I will always be a Minnesota Girl and Nebraska is a temporary pit stop. I am trying to become more interested in Nebraska history but it is hard because it is just so boring. I've lived her since 2001, in both Lincoln and Omaha, and while I have made lots of good friends, have two degrees from the University, and this is where my daughter was born, it is not home.

So, I am trying to learn more, hoping to find some smidge of something that will pique my interest. A book with a title such as this surely could do the trick, no?

Eh, sort of.

I could not stand the repetition of 'dirty deal' page after page after page. We get it, it is the hook. But we are no longer hooked by it, just bashed over the head with it constantly.

I find the history itself interesting, though one must always be careful with regional history books. There is always the risk that the story is simply too narrow to hold the interest of someone outside the state, or even the county. I felt like that some of the time, though again, that actual historical aspect was interesting to me. I was mainly put off by all the re-created scenes with dialogue. I can't stand when authors do that, especially when there is no evidence for the actual statements made in conversation. it is one of my biggest pet peeves  - don't put words in other peoples' mouths unless you have documented proof that that is how the conversation went.

It's not a terrible book, but one that is harder to take seriously without footnotes so the reader may look for the documents the book is based on, if they so desired. There are plenty of people to find interesting in the story, I just wish they could have spoken for themselves.

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