Vandemark's Folly

Vandemark's Folly



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1987
452 pp

"Here is a novel we have all been waiting for…Every chapter is full of abounding, tumultuous American life; full of real men and real women who have worked, and worshipped, and loved, and hated, and sinned, and made Iowa the staunch old Commonwealth she is today."—New York Times Book Review, 1922

Originally published in 1922 to wide national acclaim, Vandemark's Folly takes us on a memorable journey through the midwestern prairie to a burgeoning township in Iowa, where Jacobus Teunis Vandemark finds himself the proud owner of "Hell Slew."

On the journey west, we meet the many pioneers who cast their distinctive spells on American history—Grandma Thorndyke, a sharp-witted and courageous woman ready to help those in need; Buckner Gowdy, a wealthy and not-altogether-lawful Kentuckian; Rowena Fewkes and her strange, impoverished family; Virginia Royall, a lonely young woman struggling to make a place for herself on the frontier.

Yet most important is Jacobus "Cow" Vandemark, through whose eyes we see this noble journey. Naive but quick to adapt to new circumstances, Cow Vandemark and his struggles make this novel the winning and endearing tale it is. Whether going courting or riding shotgun on the Judge's wagon, Cow Vandemark is the true and likable voice of this book. His story and the story of those pioneers whose destinies intertwine with his are a chapter out of the epic movement west.