Ever wondered about the Dust Bowl and why people from Oklahoma were given derogatory names like "Oakies"? Why did people see them as people who would rather live in the dust collecting welfare? Why did we call them uneducated and think of them as dirty and invading states with hard working people looking for a handout. Worse, why were they coming here trying to take jobs already scarce? By the end of the book you think you may have taken another road were it you. If you are hopeful and optimistic, you may have stayed too long in Oklahoma or the Texas Panhandle like they did. You come away knowing you could have been one of them looking for a future. You also come away wondering how people could endure such conditions and be so optimistic about the future.You may also decide these had to be some of the toughest people on earth.
This is not what I'd call a 'page' turner - it took me quite some time to finish it, as I didn't feel compelled to listen to it all the time, but nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I like to listen to non-fiction books to 'get smarter' and I sure did with this book. It was a fascinating story of a time period that I thought I knew a lot about, but found I did not. There were many characters, which was confusing for awhile, but you figure them out the further you get into the book. The facts/trivia of the dustbowl were tragic and intriguing. I would highly recommend this book to history teachers or literature teachers, especially if you teach Steinbeck. The reader had a pleasant voice - he read the story without insinuating himself into it - no goofy accents, huge changes of tone - it was a nice change from some 'over the top' readers.
Very personal stories that bring this era to life. It makes me want to drive thru the area to meet the people. The narrator made the people live again and brought warmth to a very hard story.
"The Worst Hard Time" is the first book of its type that I have listened to. It was thoroughly enjoyable. Although a very depressing subject, I couldn't wait to get back to listen to more. It made me really appreciate the struggles of Americans of all types in the early 1900's. It was also an eye opener to hear about the foolishness of the country and the shady businessmen...shows that some things remain the same. I couldn't help but draw parallels to today's environment.
What a terrific accounting of the dust bowl era. The author must have had letters and diaries because everything "speaks" authentically. And the way he has put it together makes what could be boring history easy to take. Good reader, also.
This title supplements Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath." Being a work of non-fiction, it explains what happened to those who did not flee from the dust. I enjoyed it so much, I bought the hard copy and gave it as a gift.
Just a really good book. I was wishing he would have had exposed more the negative effects of government involvement in farm policy, but all in all it was a very good book.
Perhaps a native Okie is not the best judge of a book like this, but here goes.
Egan takes us all the way back to 1870's and is first critical of the Indian policies in place then. He follows several families in a range of places and shows the pain and pathos of the time.
But, he just falls of the edge of the world while ending the book, slipping into more critical views of current agricultural practices. If you didn't know better, you'd think things were just the same in "No Man's Land" today as they were in the 1930's. I don't appreciate his views.
My grandma, a young woman and mother of three small children, was widowed in 1922 while living near Beaver, OK. She raised her kids alone, never married again and spent the rest of her life in No Man's Land. She earned not just a living but also a college diploma at age 72. I attended her graduation ceremony, how many grand kids can say this about their grandma? At the time of her death, besides a home and car, she owned forty acres of lovely wheat land. My dad had many sad stories to tell--having his only Christmas toy broken by an uncle, missing a father's guidance, having a prize winning 4H heifer taken by the county because it had Bangs. But despite mornings awakening with the only clean spot on his pillow where his head had lain, he served well in WWII, came home and married, finished medical school and spent his life as a family doctor, helping many folks and raising his three kids with a gentle and loving hand. Like his parents before him, his deep faith in God sustained him in many hard times.
I'd have appreciated more stories of continuing legacy like this, than what I got in the book, although parts were very interesting.
Added to my dislike of the authors point of view was the fact that the narrator could not pronounce almost any name of a town correctly, except for Dalhart. Boise City, which he read thousands of times grated on my ears each time BOIS (like BOISterous) City, not bois-SAY City like the narrator insisted on pronouncing it.. And really one can easily find the correct pronunciation of many Indian and Spanish words almost anywhere now a days.
I listened to the whole thing, but I was left feeling empty. I cannot accept his current assessment of the land or policy, because Ive lived there and know better.
I listened to the entire book - a first for me. Aside from the constant mispronunciation of "Boise" (boy zay - wrong; boy-zee- correct), Pampa (pom puh- wrong; Pam puh- correct), I was hoping the story would be interesting.
I did learn some interesting facts, but mostly, after it was all said and done, it was quite repetitive. Had I tried to read it, I would have put it down after the third chapter.
Bought the kindle version with narration add-on.
I regret the decision. I can't imagine listening to the entire book with the narrator. Just doesn't do the book justice.