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Oil, homesteading, and a complicated family legacy: Erika Bolstad's 'Windfall'

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This story begins where a lot of good stories do — with an envelope, and the money inside that envelope.

Journalist Erika Bolstad inherited the right to drill oil under part of her great-grandmother's homestead in North Dakota. Instead, she dug up the truth behind family legends and wrestled with the ethics of land ownership and fossil fuels in the American West.

Bolstad is the author of a new book called "Windfall: The Prairie Woman Who Lost Her Way and The Great-Granddaughter Who Found Her."

The book traces Bolstad’s quest to understand the story of her ancestor, Anna Haraseth, and follows the growth of the oil industry in North Dakota, along with the complex environmental and social pressures that drilling is inflicting on the land.

Bolstad will be at Third Place Books Ravenna Thursday, Jan. 19 to discuss "Windfall" as part of a free event at 7 p.m. You can register online here.

Listen to Soundside's full conversation with Erika Bolstad by clicking the "play" button on the audio above.

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