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

Timothy Egan
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.


Reviewed: 2021-10-31
This is incredibly depressing, but wonderfully written and researched. An excellent, almost first person addition to Depression-era history.
Reviewed: 2021-05-19
When I read Tim Egan, I find myself nodding my head in agreement and turning phrases over in my mouth to savor their texture. But this left me flat. I'm prepared to believe that had I read it, rather than listened to it, my experience would have been better. But after hours of listening, it seemed I was along for a journey where all the scenery is the same and there's no end in sight. I'd started to wonder if we were going in circles when I finally gave it up.
Reviewed: 2020-02-14
Excellent history story. An often overlooked part of American history.
Reviewed: 2019-02-10
So well written. Captivating
Reviewed: 2018-07-30

Growing up in Oklahoma there are certain facts of the Dust Bowl that you learn in history class. And if you grew up during certain years in Oklahoma you get to experience it, not something I liked.

The story telling in this book is extraordinary. Having people from various states talk about their experiences helps to make the events more vivid. What I didn't know until reading this book was how bad electric sparks were during the storms. When the storms hit cars could short out, people didn't want to touch because the shock was too intense. And I can't imagine dying of the dust. 

This is an amazing book on a truly horrible nearly decade in American history that should be read by school children. There are lessons here to take into the future.

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