Walking backward in the wind was often a child's game. But in West Texas during the Great Depression, whether you were child or grownup, it was a method of moving ahead by backing through the legendary windstorms which swept the landscape, the same winds that covered beds, furniture and even food with a thick layer of dust. Helen Mangum Field's account opens and closes with the winds - one a nameless windstorm, the other the fabled Black Duster. But Walking Backward in the Wind is about more than the winds - they are only bookends, a blustery literary device. What occurs between the winds - the rhythms of farm families and communities in the 1920s - is the heart of this narrative. Cleaning the stove, daily dusting or shoveling dirt, planting, killing hogs, box suppers, dipping snuff, candling eggs, wringing chickens' necks and drawing names at Christmas are all richly detailed without sentimentality. In spite of gusts which grabbed and tore at the fabric of life, Helen Mangum Fields proves how successful walking backward in the wind was.