The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

83%

16 Critic Reviews

With characters who seem to have sprung from a novel by Sinclair Lewis or Steinbeck, and Egan's powerful writing, this account will long remain in readers' minds.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

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 THE IMMORTAL IRISHMAN.

 

About Timothy Egan

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TIMOTHY EGAN is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and the author of six books, most recently 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. His previous books include The Worst Hard Time, which won a National Book Award and was named a New York Times Editors' Choice. 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.  
 
Published September 1, 2006 by Mariner Books. 340 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Business & Economics, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Dec 08 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Worst Hard Time
All: 16 | Positive: 15 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on May 20 2010

Stark and powerful, a gripping if depressing read and a timely reminder that a Nature abused can exact a terrible retribution.

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NY Times

Above average
on Feb 24 2011

...Egan trips himself up with redundant outrage and with iterations of superlative...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by GrrlScientist on May 02 2008

I highly recommend this fascinating but sad tale about the greatest environmental disaster in the history of the United States, and hope that it will serve as a stern warning about the very real consequences of human ignorance, greed and hubris.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Nov 28 2008

With characters who seem to have sprung from a novel by Sinclair Lewis or Steinbeck, and Egan's powerful writing, this account will long remain in readers' minds.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Tim Gebhart on Dec 30 2008

... the Dust Bowl years produced both natural and political effects that remain his real focus is on people, what they confronted and how they attempted to survive. That is the strength of the story - and the strength of the plains.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Tim Gebhart on Dec 30 2006

...the Dust Bowl years produced both natural and political effects that remain his real focus is on people, what they confronted and how they attempted to survive. That is the strength of the story – and the strength of the plains.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Donna Bowman on Mar 14 2008

The Worst Hard Time is a reminder that the disasters of our age, while awesome in scale, still have competition from the breathtaking destruction in our past.

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Gilbert Taylor on Dec 15 2008

All the elements of the iconic dust bowl photographs come together in the author’s evocative portrait of those who first prospered and then suffered during the 1930s drought.

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Suite 101

Good
Reviewed by John Davis on Apr 10 2010

One feature that all these people...had in common was their love of the land that many of them had been born and raised on. It is to Timothy Egan's credit that he is eloquently able to bring out these feelings of love in The Worst Hard Time.

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Suite 101

Good
Reviewed by William Wunder on Nov 30 2009

The Worst Hard Time is an excellent example of history told through the people who lived it. The people of the Plains dominate this book, while outsiders complement the story.

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USA Today

Good
Reviewed by Bob Minzesheimer on Jan 18 2008

...pieces of the story have been told before, although never as comprehensively or as well. It's a great read about a horrible time, filled with lessons still worth learning.

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The Seattle Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Mary Ann Gwinn on Dec 23 2008

This is a sad and angry book, written with vivid description and a propulsive prose all the more remarkable for the fact that most of the people who lived through this story are no longer alive to tell the tale.

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Boston.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Carol Iaciofano on Jan 18 2008

Egan has gone beyond statistics to reach the heart of this tragedy. ''The Worst Hard Time" provides a sobering, gripping account of a disaster whose wounds are still not fully healed today.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Good
Reviewed by Jessica on Aug 28 2008

...an essential testament-cum-elegy to the price of human progress and the indomitable will of the American spirit.

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Project MUSE

Good
Reviewed by George O'Har on Oct 01 2008

...while the work is directed toward a popular rather than an academic audience, it is well researched and benefits from a knowledge of the relevant scholarship.

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Baby Got Books

Above average
on Jun 27 2008

Egan did a great deal of research for this book, much of it in regional archives, and his book is much richer for the local flavor he culls from oral histories

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Reader Rating for The Worst Hard Time
86%

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