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The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

by

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl Cover

ISBN13: 9780618773473
ISBN10: 0618773479
Condition:
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. Timothy Egan's critically acclaimed account rescues this iconic chapter of American history from the shadows in a tour de force of historical reportage. Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones. Brilliantly capturing the terrifying drama of catastrophe, Egan does equal justice to the human characters who become his heroes, "the stoic, long-suffering men and women whose lives he opens up with urgency and respect" (New York Times).

In an era that promises ever-greater natural disasters, The Worst Hard Time is "arguably the best nonfiction book yet" (Austin Statesman Journal) on the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land and a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of trifling with nature.

Review:

"Egan tells an extraordinary tale in this visceral account of how America's great, grassy plains turned to dust, and how the ferocious plains winds stirred up an endless series of 'black blizzards' that were like a biblical plague: 'Dust clouds boiled up, ten thousand feet or more in the sky, and rolled like moving mountains' in what became known as the Dust Bowl. But the plague was man-made, as Egan shows: the plains weren't suited to farming, and plowing up the grass to plant wheat, along with a confluence of economic disaster — the Depression — and natural disaster — eight years of drought — resulted in an ecological and human catastrophe that Egan details with stunning specificity. He grounds his tale in portraits of the people who settled the plains: hardy Americans and immigrants desperate for a piece of land to call their own and lured by the lies of promoters who said the ground was arable. Egan's interviews with survivors produce tales of courage and suffering: Hazel Lucas, for instance, dared to give birth in the midst of the blight only to see her baby die of 'dust pneumonia' when her lungs clogged with the airborne dirt. With characters who seem to have sprung from a novel by Sinclair Lewis or Steinbeck, and Egan's powerful writing, this account will long remain in readers' minds." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"All the elements of the iconic dust bowl photographs come together in the author's evocative portrait of those who first prospered and then suffered during the 1930s drought." Booklist

Review:

"Timothy Egan has written a popular history that masterfully captures the story of our nation's greatest environmental disaster....It is fascinating and emotionally wrenching, and you just can't stop reading." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Egan's lively and incisive prose resembles a wild ride in a windstorm. The reader is quickly caught up in this terrifying juggernaut by Egan's perceptive connections between weather, politics, the economy and the people's suffering." San Antonio Express-News

Review:

"Egan...offers dramatic descriptions of the storms that vividly recreate their apocalyptic fury. He really excels...in capturing the human suffering they inflicted." Washington Post

Review:

"Most Americans...have a generalized notion of the Dust Bowl experience....What they don't have is an appreciation of the detailed, slow, particular unfolding of it that Egan provides." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Egan has gone beyond statistics to reach the heart of this tragedy. The Worst Hard Time provides a sobering, gripping account of a disaster whose wounds are still not fully healed today." Boston Globe

Review:

"Egan has admirably captured a part of our American experience that should not be forgotten." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"[A] fierce, humane account of the nearly decade-long calamity of the Dust Bowl." Detroit Free Press

Synopsis:

Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones in the darkest years of the Depression.

About the Author

Timothy Egan is a national enterprise reporter for the New York Times. He is the author of five books and the recipient of several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 17 comments:

evalowen, April 2, 2015 (view all comments by evalowen)
In view of what California is experiencing right now, I found this book very relevant. Although the Dust Bowl was a man made disaster and California's drought is nature made. I learned so much about the erroneous farming methods and the resulting disaster; the desperate living conditions of the local populace who took a chance by remaining on their land, rather than relocating. As so often, the voice of reason was ignored.
I find Timothy Egan's descriptions frighteningly real.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
tabloyd, January 8, 2013 (view all comments by tabloyd)
This book was incredibly thought-provoking, well-written, meticulously researched, and impossible to put down. I highly, highly recommend it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Baker910, January 3, 2013 (view all comments by Baker910)
This book reads like a novel. If you don't think you are a fan of non-fiction this is a great place to start. Egan gives a frightening portrayal of a period of history that, while referenced often, is not "new" to so many of us "fifty-somethings". It causes reflection on "the best laid plans of mice and men" and how even when something looks like a good idea, it can end up very differently.
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View all 17 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780618773473
Subtitle:
The Story of the Dust Bowl
Author:
Egan, Timothy
Author:
Marrin, Albert
Publisher:
Puffin
Location:
Boston
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Natural Disasters
Subject:
United States - 20th Century/Depression
Subject:
United States - State & Local - Midwest
Subject:
Dust Bowl Era, 1931-1939
Subject:
Great Plains History 20th century.
Subject:
World History-General
Subject:
General Juvenile Nonfiction
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper, Picture
Publication Date:
September 2006
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 4
Language:
English
Pages:
128
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 9

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Award Winners
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Americana » Great Plains
History and Social Science » Americana » Midwest
History and Social Science » Sale Books
History and Social Science » US History » 1920 to 1960
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Meteorology

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl Sale Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.98 In Stock
Product details 128 pages Puffin - English 9780618773473 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Egan tells an extraordinary tale in this visceral account of how America's great, grassy plains turned to dust, and how the ferocious plains winds stirred up an endless series of 'black blizzards' that were like a biblical plague: 'Dust clouds boiled up, ten thousand feet or more in the sky, and rolled like moving mountains' in what became known as the Dust Bowl. But the plague was man-made, as Egan shows: the plains weren't suited to farming, and plowing up the grass to plant wheat, along with a confluence of economic disaster — the Depression — and natural disaster — eight years of drought — resulted in an ecological and human catastrophe that Egan details with stunning specificity. He grounds his tale in portraits of the people who settled the plains: hardy Americans and immigrants desperate for a piece of land to call their own and lured by the lies of promoters who said the ground was arable. Egan's interviews with survivors produce tales of courage and suffering: Hazel Lucas, for instance, dared to give birth in the midst of the blight only to see her baby die of 'dust pneumonia' when her lungs clogged with the airborne dirt. With characters who seem to have sprung from a novel by Sinclair Lewis or Steinbeck, and Egan's powerful writing, this account will long remain in readers' minds." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "All the elements of the iconic dust bowl photographs come together in the author's evocative portrait of those who first prospered and then suffered during the 1930s drought."
"Review" by , "Timothy Egan has written a popular history that masterfully captures the story of our nation's greatest environmental disaster....It is fascinating and emotionally wrenching, and you just can't stop reading."
"Review" by , "Egan's lively and incisive prose resembles a wild ride in a windstorm. The reader is quickly caught up in this terrifying juggernaut by Egan's perceptive connections between weather, politics, the economy and the people's suffering."
"Review" by , "Egan...offers dramatic descriptions of the storms that vividly recreate their apocalyptic fury. He really excels...in capturing the human suffering they inflicted."
"Review" by , "Most Americans...have a generalized notion of the Dust Bowl experience....What they don't have is an appreciation of the detailed, slow, particular unfolding of it that Egan provides."
"Review" by , "Egan has gone beyond statistics to reach the heart of this tragedy. The Worst Hard Time provides a sobering, gripping account of a disaster whose wounds are still not fully healed today."
"Review" by , "Egan has admirably captured a part of our American experience that should not be forgotten."
"Review" by , "[A] fierce, humane account of the nearly decade-long calamity of the Dust Bowl."
"Synopsis" by , Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones in the darkest years of the Depression.
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