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Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West

by Dorothy Wickenden

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6113527,515 (3.52)34
"A captivating book about Dorothy Wickenden's grandmother, who left her affluent East Coast life to "rough it" as a teacher in Colorado in 1916"-- Provided by publisher."A captivating full-length book derived from a widely read and much beloved New Yorker piece about Wickenden's grandmother and her grandmother's best friend who left their affluent East Coast lives to "rough it" as teachers in the wilds of Colorado in 1916"-- Provided by publisher.… (more)
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» See also 34 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
a best book 2011--boston globe--atlantic--entertainment weekly
notable nonfiction--washington post publisher weekly--sleeper hit
parts boring ( )
  mahallett | Aug 20, 2019 |
This was not the book I expected. Based on the author's Grandmother's letters this is the story of 2 rich, spoiled debutants who head out to a small settlement in Colorado to teach, something they have never done. The women are wealthy, spirited and NEVER complain. Everyone loves them, they overcome any and all hardships without complaint and every man falls in love with them. The author fleshes out the story with background into the settling of Colorado, the mining and cattle industry etc. That part was rather dull - which it should not have been. The author also covers the ladies adventures in Europe, which was not relevant to the Colorado story. This could have been a nice article in the New Yorker, but it is too stretched. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
2 society girls — Auburn NY
Taught school NW Colorado 1916 — Very good — from letters — in awe of Western beauty

In the summer of 1916, Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood, close friends from childhood and graduates of Smith College, left home in Auburn, New York, for the wilds of northwestern Colorado. Bored by their society luncheons, charity work, and the effete young men who courted them, they learned that two teaching jobs were available in a remote mountaintop schoolhouse and applied;shocking their families and friends. "No young lady in our town," Dorothy later commented, "had ever been hired by anybody."
  christinejoseph | May 8, 2018 |
How truly inspiring! ( )
  lissabeth21 | Oct 3, 2017 |
My feelings are torn as I write a review for this book. It's a fascinating, true account of the author's grandmother and best friend leaving behind their life of spoiled society for a formative year of teaching children in the wilds of Colorado. This is what the cover copy promises. The reality is that this is makes up only a little over half the content of the book.

The start of the book is slow, riddled with irrelevant information that tries to establish the time and place but overdoes it in a major way. Background information on Woodrow Wilson and even the two women's time in Europe ends up feeling like prolonged info dumps. Once the narrative finally gets to Colorado--and stays there--the book is a fast, intriguing read. I became very fond of Dorothy and Ros. The author had access to a wealth of letters between the two women and their families--what a treasure trove! Their descriptions are vivid and delightful. I loved the epilogue, though I was very sad at some of the grief they endured at such young ages. It intrigued me to see how their year of teaching in Colorado impacted not only their lives, but that of the town where they lived and the small cluster of students they taught.

I will be keeping this book because it does offer a unique perspective on this time period, but potential readers should keep in mind that they may need to skim to reach the best parts of the book. And once they get there, they will be rewarded with a fantastic tale. ( )
  ladycato | Aug 6, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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for Hermione and Caroline
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Prologue: One weekend afternoon in the fall of 2008, at the back of a drawer in my old wooden desk at home, I came across a folder I had forgotten.
July 27, 1916
A passenger train pulled into the Hayden depot at 10:45 PM with a piercing squeal of brakes, a long whistle, and the banging of steel shoes against couplers.
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"A captivating book about Dorothy Wickenden's grandmother, who left her affluent East Coast life to "rough it" as a teacher in Colorado in 1916"-- Provided by publisher."A captivating full-length book derived from a widely read and much beloved New Yorker piece about Wickenden's grandmother and her grandmother's best friend who left their affluent East Coast lives to "rough it" as teachers in the wilds of Colorado in 1916"-- Provided by publisher.

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The author tells the story of her grandmother Dorothy Woodruff and Dorothy's friend Rosamond Underwood, two society girls in upstate New York, who left home in the summer of 1916 to take jobs as teachers in the tiny Colorado settlement of Elkhead, drawing from their letters home, interviews with descendants, research, and trips to the region to reconstruct their adventures and discuss their lasting influence on their young students and others they met.
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