Great book, especially for Texas history fans! I was unaware of the cause of the Dust Bowl, but always heard the stories. This book explained how "over farming" was the root.
My grandmother was born in Kansas with her family necessarily leaving. She was reluctant to speak of difficult times. I kept seeing the picture of her and her family next to a sod roofed house while listening to this.
All of the personal stories, together with the history of the depression and the man made causes of this disaster, made it come to life.
This historical account of the people, places, and events surrounding the Dust Bowl was surprisingly easy to get into and hard to turn away from. It really gave me an appreciation for the hardships of the time -- and their origins. This is a book I nearly didn't pick up, but I'm glad I did.
Yes, the story of the people of No Man's Land needs to be remembered. This book recounts the experience of a variety of individuals who lived through the Dust Bowl. Their stories are heartbreaking, but their courage is inspiring.
I didn't care for the way FDR became the hero of the story. It seemed more of a statement about the auhor's political beliefs than a documentation of what truly happened.
The narrator should have done much more research for this performance. His accents are horrendous, and his pronunciation of geographic locations is abysmal. By the end I wanted to yell at him every time he mispronounced "Boysay" City. It's "Boys" city. "BOYS" CITY. I don't expect the average person to know what an Oklahoma accent sounds like, or to correctly pronounce the names of obscure towns in the Panhandle. But a book of this magnitude--one that takes such a searing look at an ecological and economic disaster and the desperation it caused the people who lived through it--deserves more attention to detail by the narrator than this received. It just seems disrespectful.
I think it's too long and sad to listen to all at once. It held my attention to the end, but I needed breaks to reflect on the subject matter.
Ken Burns documentary about the Dust Bowl is very good if you want to learn more about this topic.
I usually hate abridged books but for this book I recommend the abridged version. If you are a historian or student that might not be true but for casual reading it went on and on and on and on.
The story is excellent, I learned so much but it just went on with example after example year after year and with such complexity that I couldn't keep up with where I was or what year it was.
After I finished reading the book I discovered the mini-series by Ken Burns on Netflix. I believe they used the book or the same material as the book and presented it so well. Perhaps that was the better format for this kind of story. I hate to downrate a book just because I wasn't able to enjoy all the detail - but for me 3 stars is the best I can give.
Recommending this to a friend would have to be someone that wants to see history as a plain person looks at it.
The best portions were whne the people were sharing their own stories
Sounds like a documentary to replace counting sleep. There was no excitement to keep one's interest as dry as the dust bowl itself. Quit after a quarter of the way through and that was pushing it.
I do plan to listen to The Worst Hard Time again because there was so much to digest that I fear I may have missed something. And, I want to listen with access to a map for better reference points.
A memorable moment was the description of how people tried to insulate themselves from the dust. My father was a child in Oklahoma during this time period and described the exact same process--as a child myself, I could hardly envision it.
I found the scene of the family living in a dugout and dreadfully ill most compelling as well as the description of being caught out in a dust up.
The multiple and overwhelming desciptions of people finding a way to hang on no matter the cost was most moving.
I found this narrative to be compelling in its exactness and thought-provoking in regards to how actions driven by economic gain can bring us so quickly to the edge of destruction -- and for many, they certainly were pushed over the edge ie the number of farms lost, land destoyed and lives forever changed.
The Worst Hard times is a story of unbridled ambition such as that of the gold miners of 1849 but much more of a Promethean twist. People seeking their future form the East followed the promise of a better life as a sod buster on the plains. They came in droves, plowed up the ground removing critical native vegetation, and killed off rabbits and other critters they felt threatened them or their crops. The crops failed due to lack of water and lacking infrastructure they were promised leading to mass exoduses. The barren ground gave teeth to the common strong winds leading blinding and choking dust storms that were one of the largest man made tragedies of all time. The will to survive and dogged commitment to stick it out builds a tragic tell as people died from dust phenomena and then when some vegetation did start to grow, locust invasions due to the lack of predators that the sod busters killed off kept the vicious cycle going. A very eye opening cautionary read on how unbridled ambition can lead to tragedy for all.