Natives of a Dry Place "is surprising, inspiring, deeply personal—and a page-turner."—Lincoln Journal Star
“I couldn't put [the book] down. Not only did it capture people and place with an almost magnetic clarity, but it was so gracefully written that I didn't want to stop reading. . . . It was a privilege to meet so many of the Stanley folks, and your family, on such intimate terms.”— Fergus M. Bordewich, author of America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise that Preserved the Union
"Edwards has a keen eye, and through his deep connection with the Great Plains and love of the souls who made it their home, he distills wonderful vignettes of enduring character, and offers insights as to why this land seemed to mold its denizens so. Edwards doesn't romanticize, which just makes his well researched and intimate observations of people all the more compelling."—Robert Hazen
“As a child, I thought of my town—as most children probably do—as just an ordinary place. . . . Yet I have come to think that there were exceptional things in the lives of its people and especially in the values and virtues that they believed in and aspired to.”—Richard Edwards
Before the oil industry transformed western North Dakota, the natives of Stanley went about their normal, everyday lives. Postmen, farmers, housewives, doctors, and other residents of the bustling town held certain qualities close as they cultivated the cultural fabric of the Great Plains. For generations, inhabitants of this wheat-growing region developed a combination of resoluteness, steadfastness, devotion to the community, and ever-present modesty.
Contrasting these values with the trials of the modern oil-boom community, author Richard Edwards examines the old town’s virtues through the stories of those who built and sustained a community on the dry, open plains in the twentieth century. A deeply personal look at a small North Dakota town, Natives of a Dry Place focuses on a not-so-distant past and takes readers on a journey of reflection to a time before big oil. Edwards uses his experience as both a historian and an economist to delve into the overarching questions of what makes a community and how it survives during times of upheaval.