The Worst Hard Time

The Worst Hard Time

The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

Book - 2006
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"The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since, and the stories of the people that held on have never been fully told. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, going from sod homes to new framed houses to huddling in basements with the windows sealed by damp sheets in a futile effort to keep the dust out. He follows their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black blizzards, crop failure, and the deaths of loved ones. Drawing on the voices of those who stayed and survived - those who, now in their eighties and nineties, will soon carry their memories to the grave - Egan tells a story of endurance and heroism against the backdrop of the Great Depression."
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., c2006
ISBN: 9780618346974
061834697X
9780618773473
0618773479
Branch Call Number: 978.032 EG14W
Characteristics: x, 340 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm

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r
RescueDog
Jun 25, 2018

I thought this was a tremendous book. It brought The Dust Bowl to life. If there was ever any doubt in your mind that the cause of this disaster was human, there won’t be after reading this book. It is a haunting book. I won’t forget it any time soon. I wish I had read this book while my father was still alive to discuss it with me.
There are several pages that discuss the documentary made by the government in 1935: The Plow That Broke the Plains was available at the library. I suggest watching it after reading the book.

b
belalin
Sep 06, 2017

This is not a particularly well written book, but worth reading nonetheless in order to understand what life was like for farmers affected by the drought in the prairies during the Great Depression. See Doris Waggoner's excellent comment below for more details.

HCL_staff_reviews Dec 01, 2016

This astonishing book recounts the saga of the southern Great Plains during the Depression. The Plains ecosystem gradually had become irreparably damaged from commercial buffalo killing, large-scale cattle ranching and 'sod-busting' wheat farming practices, all of which caused erosion. When severe drought began in 1931, the result was a natural disaster; deep cracks formed in the earth's crust and huge storms darkened the skies as far as New York City; agriculture ceased. Egan focuses on several families and locales to illustrate the courage and luck that was required to survive the Dust Bowl. — Trudi C., Southdale Library

h
HollyDavis022
Mar 11, 2016

Fascinating and still relevant discussion of environmental policy competing with economic policy

lbarkema Jul 01, 2015

Interesting topic that I realized I knew very little about, but it was a bit dry at times and that is why I easily abandoned it to read other books multiple times, and it took me 3 months to finish. Non-fiction readers will definitely enjoy this, but fiction readers who do not normally foray into non-fiction, just remember that it won't be a fast read, but it's written well and you will learn a lot.

sidnawkid Apr 07, 2015

Fascinating information about an unfortunate and tragic era in American history. Makes history come alive through details of the lives of several dust bowl families. Very compelling reading; tough to put down.

c
ckaldahl
Jul 28, 2014

Takes some patience to get into it but you do become attached to the stories.

h
hmcgivney
Apr 14, 2013

Beautifully written, but sometimes hard to read because of the sheer amount of hardship that the dust bowl dwellers had to endure. Eight years of drought, the land in revolt, the Great Depression... it was just awful. I also can't help shaking my head at the sheer hubris of the people to think that plowing up millions of acres of grassland was a good idea, and that wheat prices were only going to go up. It also reminds me that human nature is fundamentally unchanged, and we are repeating some of the same mistakes now.

r
robandbarbw
Oct 03, 2012

This book was very very interesting and was written in an engaging way. I learned a lot. I was very saddened by many details of the story.

j
Jennmro
Feb 09, 2011

I enjoyed this book though did get bogged down a bit in a few places. Would definitely recommend it.

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