I was reminded of excellent war books that paint a picture from the point of view of soldiers on the ground. The Red Cross gave out Book review of the worst hard of face masks to help people fend off the flying dirt.
The plains of the Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado area were once vast grasslands with deep roots in the soil in a area of the country with little rainfall and constant winds. There are also heartening stories of communities banding together to help each other forestall foreclosures, and of an enlightened scientist determined to save the land from such callous disregard.
He examines the causes and effects of the Dust Bowl not only with the knowledge hindsight brings but also through the eyes of those who lived through it and even those who did not survive it, economically or physically.
This effort was aided in part by the advent of the tractor, allowing more land to be planted than ever before.
This meant that in addition to trying to navigate roads drifted in with dust and coming across the blinding dust storms, vehicles could simply stop because of a discharge of static electricity, leaving an individual or family stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Climate change, it said, was not the reason for the dust storms and condition of the land. In another interview he says, I want to see if history got it wrong. The area was not called the Great American Desert without reason. Egan has a gift.
The tractors had done what no hailstorm, no blizzard, no tornado, no drought, no epic siege of frost, no prairie fire, nothing in the natural history of the southern plains had ever done. I was blown away by scenes that could have come from the time of plagues in Egypt, from a science fiction tale about surviving on a hostile new planet, or, worse, from a horror movie.
At least in the Northern Plains, shelterbelts are almost ubiquitous today. It is, in the words of the Times, a classic disaster tale and one that serves to caution us against trifling with Creation and against taking it for granted. How to explain a place where hollow-bellied horses chewed on fence postswhere sta The Dust Bowl of the s is far from public consciousness today, and that is a shame.
Stark and powerful, a gripping if depressing read and a timely reminder that a Nature abused can exact a terrible retribution. However, after the war ended, a time of drought hit the Western part of the continent and the soil dried out to become dust.
Among them is country physician Doc Dawson, who opened a sanitarium for dust pneumonia victims, lost all his money farming and spent his last, penniless years running a soup kitchen.
It was one of the biggest killers. Other interviews worth a look include. Page 3 of 4 Book Reviews Mr. The soil blew upwards and eastwards, forming great clouds that traveled across the continent, sometimes blanketing Chicago, New York and Washington.
Lives were extinguished by perennially awful conditions, and help was not a thing one could count on. They also put cloth on their doorknobs and metal oven handles to inhibit the electric jolt. But the plague was man-made, as Egan shows: On at least two occasions, storms that started in the plains darkened skies on the east coast, including New York City and Washington, with dust to the point street lights came on.
This ecological disaster rapidly disfigured whole communities. Worldwide economic conditions contributed to the creation of the the Dust Bowl, and did not aid in its recovery, but ignorance, greed, shortsightedness and damn foolishness were big players as well.
And then they ditched it.
People and animals could not avoid inhaling the often microscopic dust particles, which pervaded not only the outdoors but their homes. The summer of produced a record wheat crop.
How could people survive this? I want things to happen. And this was before the drought had calcified most of the ground.
In truth, the dust bowl was largely a human creation.Grim, riveting account by New York Times reporter Egan makes clear that, although hurricanes and floods have grabbed recent headlines, America's worst assault from Mother Nature came in the form of ten long years of drought and dust.
The "dust bowl" of the s covered million acres spread over five states: Kansas, Oklahoma. "The Worst Hard Time is an epic story of blind hope and endurance almost beyond belief; it is also, as Tim Egan has told it, a riveting tale of bumptious charlatans, conmen, and tricksters, environmental arrogance and hubris, political chicanery, and a ruinous ignorance of nature's ways/5(K).
The Worst Hard Time, which won this year's National Book Award for non-fiction, focuses on the epicenter of the Dust Bowl — a stretch of high plains ranging from the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles through the southeastern corner of Colorado and the western half of Kansas up to the Nebraska border.
Egan takes us into the lives of. THE WORST HARD TIME. The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl. KIRKUS REVIEW. Grim, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention. Jan 21, · I thought I understood the plight of farmers during the Dust Bowl, but I had no idea until I read “The Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan (National Book Award Winner ), chosen as central Pennsylvania’s One Book, One Community read.
Nothing better illustrates the disastrous effects of bad applied science than the dust storms of the s, the complex subject of Timothy Egan's new book, The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl.Download