Download The Ogallala Road: A Memoir of Love and Reckoning Audiobook

The Ogallala Road: A Memoir of Love and Reckoning Audiobook, by Julene Bair Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Julene Bair Narrator: Kirsten Potter Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2014 ISBN: 9781482964677
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A love affair unfolds as crisis hits a family farm on the High Plains.

Julene Bair has inherited part of a farming empire and fallen in love with a rancher from Kansas’ beautiful Smoky Valley. A single mother, she means to provide her son with the father he longs for and preserve the Bair farm for the next generation, honoring her own father’s wish and commandment, “Hang on to your land!” But part of her legacy is a share of the ecological harm the Bair farm has done: each growing season her family—like other irrigators—pumps over two hundred million gallons out of the Ogallala aquifer. The rapidly disappearing aquifer is the sole source of water on the vast western plains, and her family’s role in its depletion haunts her. As traditional ways of life collide with industrial realities, Bair must dramatically change course.

Updating the territory mapped by Jane Smiley, Pam Houston, and Terry Tempest Williams, and with elements of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, The Ogallala Road tells a tale of the West today and points us toward a new way to love both the land and one another.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A love affair unfolds and crisis hits a family farm on the High Plains in Julene Bair’s memoir…A story of land, water, relationships, and love…[that is] polished, touching, and engaging…Bair says labor once broke the farmer’s back; now pillage and poison break the earth’s…This is a book by a tough, restless, energetic, admirable, principled Kansas who also happens to be a fine writer. Her voice is a welcome one.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A fierce mother, a dutiful daughter, an eager lover, Bair has plowed fields, driven tractors, and worked her father’s land…The Ogallala Road is her moving story of love and loss, denial and reckoning, and the emergence of a new kind of hope.”

    Ruth Ozeki, American Book Award-winning author

  • “Nostalgia for the family farm in arid western Kansas vies with a deep consternation about the draining of the Ogallala Aquifer by crop irrigation in Bair’s ardent, deliberative narrative…Bair’s thoughtful work underscores the dilemma now facing farmers on the High Plains.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “With a warm voice, Kirsten Potter reads Julene Bair’s memoir of growing up in western Kansas…Listeners are drawn into environmental issues and disputes over water rights, all delivered in Potter’s honeyed tones. Using subtle inflections and a sometimes strident tone, Potter narrates Bair’s study of the use and abuse of the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides water for farms large and small. Potter’s evenly paced narration reflects the steady erosion of land and scarcity of water in America’s Plains states.”


  • “In this thoughtful consideration of life at a crossroads, Bair tackles questions about single parenthood, romance, and the monumental task of determining the future of the family farm…Bair’s measured approach to her family’s ultimate decision about the farm provides readers in a nonrural setting with a thoughtful look into America’s heartland.”


  • “A gifted writer describes the ebbs and flows of the arc of a romantic relationship while exploring her own bond to the American heartland…Lyrical.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Julene Bair is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Nonfiction Writing Program. Her essay collection, One Degree West, won two regional awards and was a finalist for others, including the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award. She has taught at the University of Wyoming and the University of Iowa. She lives in Longmont, Colorado.

About the Narrator

Kirsten Potter has won several awards, including more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a three-time finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. Her work has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and by AudioFile magazine, among many others. She graduated with highest honors from Boston University and has performed on stage and in film and television, including roles on Medium, Bones, and Judging Amy.