Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review

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


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Incredible stories from the lives of those who lived in the miserable Dust Bowl years in half of Kansas and parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and Nebraska.




The years leading up to the Dust Bowl of 1933-1938 were ones of obsessive conversion of native grasslands by farmers planting wheat and other crops. Having cleared millions of acres and with crops decimated by weather conditons, people were assailed by tons of dust on a daily basis. No amount of prevention could keep it out of their homes. Many were afficted with "dust pneumonia" and many suffered cruel deaths. Some left their homes behind to move on, but most stayed and tried to wait it out. With no income, their homes and lands mortgaged, many felt forced to stay. Added to this, rainfall was nearly non-existant and grasshoppers plagued the land as well.




Mr. Egan interviewed survivors from this time period as well as devoured records and diaries to tell the stories of many in one book. Their lives are not only a record of what people can and did endure, but also a tale of how much of what happened was due to naive destruction of their land.




This book certainly makes evident what man's actions have done to change a part of our country for many years to come.




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