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.
Not usually a fan of non-fiction but this was great! Got it on a bargain buy and am glad I did!
Retired high school English teacher. I liked and worked with the at-risk student. Interested in about everything, but I love a good story.
A good explanation and story of the era of the ecological disaster of the Great Dust Bowl of the 1930s and its impact upon the nation. Egan includes the Great Depression and the politics surrounding the financial crash, the Volstead Act, and the culture of the time.
This book brings the era achingly to life. Those of us who were the children of the people who lived through the Depression recognize the names, places, and people involved. An excellent book for entertainment as well as edification.
Yes, and I have. Everyone should know this story.
This is a story about hope, determination, stubbornness, greed, ignorance, and true grit.
I found the reader to be average to above average.
Yes. Mostly shock and amazement. I was alternately horrified and intrigued with the intimate view of the dust bowl life. What doesn't kill you makes to stronger.
A beautiful window in to this amazing time in American history.
It is pretty high on my list.
The rabbits -- it put images in my head that have stuck
Unknown facts of the dirty Thirties.
I purchased this on sale. It was well worth the $3.95 I paid for it. I thought the narration was good, and although depressing, the history was well written, and the book flowed well. I suggest reading it.
We have all heard about the Dust Bowl in grade school but the horribleness never really sunk in. I didn't know it lasted years and the extent to which the area was destroyed. The book takes you on a journey from when the land was beautiful prairie for the cowboys and American Indians and then discusses how the cultivation of the land led to a fantastic bounty which led to its demise. And as bad as things got, people wouldn't leave - some out of choice and some because they refused to let go of their dreams. We learn about things that are so heartbreaking and we hope nothing this horrible ever happens again.
One of the best books of the year - highly recommended.
I think Timothy Egan’s approach to retelling history through individual stories and personal perspective is a powerful way to study the past. Like the Big Burn (also a very good read) Egan gathers general information, personal testimony and personal narrative to explain this era of our history in wonderful detail. Patrick Lawlor does a great job narrating. This is a must listen.
Yes. Narrator Patrick Lawlor has great voice inflection. Tells a very entertaining story about the dust bowl.
I think Alfafa Bill, the Governor of Oklahoma
You can imagine the people actually talking in their accents.
Made me appreciate the grit and persistence of the dust bowl people. made me appreciate my easy life.
I'm guessing not although the narrator was quite good.
Everything I learned about the great dust bowl and the hard times people experienced and lived through.
I had no favorite character in this read.
Not one, but many--the years people spent on the unforgiving land, still hoping for the best.
A great read for everyone who doesn't appreciate the hardships people can endure.
This is an excellent history of the dust bowl. I learned so much that American history books treat as an insignificant footnote to history. The entire episode threatened America's ability to feed itself. Thousands died, many more were run off of their land. I had never heard of "Dust Pneumonia" before reading this. After reading it I asked my parents and got another lesson about our family history, the history of the west and American history.
This is a significant event in our history and should be treated that way. Since our collective American propensity for revisionist history is so strong we should all take more time to read more about our collective history. This is one of the books that should be on your list to read.