Government's Right to Take Land Destroys American Dream

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What happens when the very government that is supposed to protect its citizens' rights to own property takes their land? For the Cole Family of Neville Island, the U.S. Government's policy of eminent domain devastated three generations.

The Coles of Neville Island were prosperous landowners until the United States used eminent domain to repossess their property. Jean Boggio recounts this true story of hatred, bitterness, ambition, greed, and incest in her powerful award-winning memoir "Stolen Fields: A Story of Eminent Domain and the Death of the American Dream" (ISBN 9780979933042, Colerith Press, 2008).

While fighting World War I in 1918, the United States Government decided to build a munitions plant to rival the German Krupps Works. The location would be Neville Island, home to the prosperous Cole family for over a century. Due to the government's eminent domain policy, the property was purchased for a pittance of its value. When the war ended before the plant was built, the Coles could not buy their land back privately but had to bid for it at public auction, only to be outbid by Carnegie Steel.

How could the United States government treat its own citizens so unfairly, and how did this event affect the Cole family? Jean Boggio, Cole family descendant, tells her family's story in "Stolen Fields." The family had social position as the Coles of Neville Island, but the loss of their land forced them to start over again.

The Cole family members are the story's center. The family matriarch, an elderly woman outbid at the auction, spends the rest of her life staring out the window of the new farm. Uncle Bob is determined to gain full ownership of the family's new property. Meanwhile a younger generation springs up. They are raised on tales of the family's misfortune, which influences their own futures. Some go off to college, others are victims of incest, and some turn their backs on religion.

"Stolen Fields" is written with a novelist's talent. Boggio depicts her family with color and nostalgia. She explores both sides of eminent domain while retaining her pride in being an American, and she demonstrates that people must choose their reactions to negative situations. The reader of "Stolen Fields" becomes educated about the U.S. Government, twentieth century life, and what it means to be a family.

About the Author
Jean Boggio has been writing throughout her life. She holds multiple degrees in education, drama, and nursing. Her various careers have included teaching elementary school, piano from her home, nursing management and psychiatric nursing. She lives in Maine with her six cats. Currently, she is writing about the Cole Family's long residence on Neville Island and her own life as a mature single woman.

Stolen Fields: A Story of Eminent Domain and the Death of the American Dream" (ISBN 9780979933042, Colerith Press, 2008) can be purchased through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit Publicity contact: Review copies available upon request.


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