More About The Krause Trio.
Wind Without Rain, Herbert Krause's first novel, was a national best seller, a book club choice, and winner of the Friends of American Writers' award. It is a stark account of life in what Krause called Pockerbrush Country, much resembling the land near Fergus Falls, Minn., where he grew to manhood. Filled with biting insights and poetic language, Wind Without Rain is the story of Franz Vildvogel, a second-generation German-American, who like all of Krause's protagonists, has boiling inside him a troubled yearning to be something greater. And as with other protagonists, his name suggests the rebellious spirit and hints at the conflicts he will encounter with the world around him, with the traditions and mores that attempt to stuff the sensitive and the willful into a straightjacket of conventional behavior. In his featured review in The Saturday Review of Literature, Wallace Stegner wrote, "We have waited a long time for a writer who could, without compromising in the least the integrity of his observation, or softening his picture of the world, still transmute that real world into beauty"
Do not read The Thresher expecting to wallow in the easy nostalgia of an earlier time. Johnny Schwartz, who later changes his name to Black in defiance of his German heritage, is a complicated, ambitious man who seeks power, but with the result that power often brings to those who wield it. While Krause is scrupulous in his descriptions of the threshing era the way it really was, he is more focused upon character and upon the interaction of the land and with the men who set out to tame it. A sweeping tragedy of the plains.
Krause's last novel, The Oxcart Trail, reaches back further into the history of the land he celebrates in all his work. The beginning of the book is set in the pioneer settlement of St. Paul and presents a vivid picture of the place as it must have been. Then we set out with Shawnie Dark on a great adventure along the trail that leads through hardship and hostility to a promised land and a lake of dreams.