Proud and Angry Dust

Written by Kathryn Mitchell
Review by Nan Curnutt

Knox Plains, Texas was a racially divided town in the 1920s, during the coming of age of Moose O’Malley and his uncle Barnett. Moose is of African and Irish heritage. The blacks grew up on the south side, thanks to the all-white Knox Plains Land Allocation Council. No crop would grow on south side land. Everything changes in the lives of Moose and those around him when oil is discovered on a poor farmer’s land south of Knox Plains. This formerly sleepy Texas town becomes a boomtown full of swindlers, thieves and even murderers; and the Knox Plains Land Allocation Council members suddenly live on the poor side of town.

Kathryn Mitchell has crafted an entertaining first novel where the struggles of two adolescent boys are mirrored and amplified in the struggles of the town in which they live. Her endearing, yet not always perfect, minor characters add just the right touch to complete this tale.