THE WORST HARD TIME

Tim Egan

The story of the people who lived through the nation’s hardest economic depression and its worst weather event is one of the great untold stories of the Greatest Generation. To me, there was an urgency to get this story now because the last of the people who lived through those dark years are in their final days. It’s their story, and I didn’t want them to take this narrative of horror and persistence to the grave. At the same time, this part of America — the rural counties of the Great Plains — looks like it’s dying. Our rural past seems so distant,

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The story of the people who lived through the nation’s hardest economic depression and its worst weather event is one of the great untold stories of the Greatest Generation. To me, there was an urgency to get this story now because the last of the people who lived through those dark years are in their final days. It’s their story, and I didn’t want them to take this narrative of horror and persistence to the grave. At the same time, this part of America — the rural counties of the Great Plains — looks like it’s dying. Our rural past seems so distant, like Dorothy’s Kansas in the Wizard of Oz. Yet it was within the lifetime of people living today that nearly one in three Americans worked on a farm. Now, the site of the old Dust Bowl — which covers parts of five states — is largely devoid of young families and emptying out by the day. It’s flyover country to most Americans. But it holds this remarkable tale that should be a larger part of our shared national story.

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  • Mariner Books
  • Paperback
  • September 2006
  • 352 Pages
  • 9780618773473

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About Tim Egan

Timothy Egan is a national enterprise reporter for the New York Times. He is the author of five books and the recipient of several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Praise

“[A] fierce, humane account of the dreams and extremes that crashed head on during the nearly decade-long calamity of the Dust Bowl.”—The New York Times

The Worst Hard Time provides a sobering, gripping account of a disaster whose wounds are still not fully healed today.”
Boston Globe

“Egan’s account of the Dust Bowl era is a final, terrible rebuke to the policies of America’s dying days of frontier expansion.”
The Seattle Times

“Egan is a passionate and accomplished writer…Read this for history, not inspiration or entertainment.”—The Denver Post