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.
There's always time for reading
I think Timothy Egan is a great writer and have enjoyed a number of his other books -- particularly Short Nights. Like his other books, I found this one covered a fascinating, little known era of American history, the dust bowl drama of the 1930s, but found it covered the same ground way too long (think 100 pages of listening about dust storms) without the same drama or depth of his more recent works. It's an interesting book, but I was glad to be finished with it.
Thank God for a mother who read to me all the time. If it were not for her I would not leave the house without an iPod.
This is our history and yet it seems like a science fiction novel. The first hand stories are heart breaking. If you have seen the photos of Dorothea Lange or the movie The Grapes of Wrath you will have a slight idea of the amount of suffering that occured.