The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sep 1, 2006 - History - 352 pages
148 Reviews

In a tour de force of historical reportage, Timothy Egan’s National Book Award–winning story rescues an iconic chapter of American history from the shadows.


The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Timothy Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones. Brilliantly capturing the terrifying drama of catastrophe, he does equal justice to the human characters who become his heroes, “the stoic, long-suffering men and women whose lives he opens up with urgency and respect” (New York Times). In an era that promises ever-greater natural disasters, The Worst Hard Time is “arguably the best nonfiction book yet” (Austin Statesman Journal) on the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land and a powerful reminder about the dangers of trifling with nature.

This e-book includes a sample chapter of SHORT NIGHTS OF THE SHADOW CATCHER.


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User Review  - klburnside - LibraryThing

This book was a very good account of the Dust Bowl, and the families that chose to stay in the region during that time. The book was well researched and very readable. I don't think I really had any ... Read full review

Oh...what a time!

User Review  - c1808 -

My husband talked about this book a LOT both while he was reading it and afterward. Its an amazing chronicle of what happened during the dust bowl. Terrible times! Wellwritten book! Read full review

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About the author (2006)

TIMOTHY EGAN is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter and the author of seven books, most recently Short Nights of the Shawdow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis. His previous books include The Worst Hard Time, which won a National Book Award and was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Washington State Book Award. He is an online op-ed columnist for the New York Times, writing his "Opinionator" feature once a week. He is a third-generation Westerner and lives in Seattle.

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