Book Review: The Worst Hard Time

Every week I’ll review a different book or write an article on writing. Some of the books will be new books just released others will be classics and some will be those that are recommended by friends or those precious ‘finds’ that I find in the local library.

This week I’m going to review The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan (Mariner Books 2006). This is a book that all Americans should read. Although it’s a depressing subject about a very depressing time, it is still worth the time spent. It chronicles the lives of several families and people during their horrendous experience during America’s worst man-made disasters. It is dark and depressing; know that going into it. Death does occur. It also jumps around a bit, time wise, and at first it was hard to get used to it. But it does come together in the end.

I read this because it tells about the beginning of the Soil Conservation Service (now the National Resource Conservation Service) and Hugh Bennett. This book is a good representation of how our ignorance and greed caused this terrible tragedy. And how, finally, people took responsibility for their mistakes (well, sort of, as much as the government ever admits its mistakes) and turned it into the beginning of better farming practices.

I truly enjoyed reading this book, except on gloomy fall days when it seemed to make the gloom even worse. I think this is an important book to read, since that whole generation is slipping away from us and first hand accounts will no longer be available. Read it and just thank the heavens that we finally got our heads on straight.

This is a definite must read book.

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