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

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

by Timothy Egan


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618346974
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 12/14/2005
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 343,518
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

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

Patrick Lawlor has recorded over three hundred audiobooks in just about every genre. He has been an Audie Award finalist multiple times and has garnered several AudioFile Earphones Awards, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and many Library Journal and Kirkus starred audio reviews.


Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

November 8, 1954

Table of Contents


Introduction: Live Through This 1

I • PROMISE: The Great Plowup, 1901–1930

1. The Wanderer 13 2. No Man’s Land 32 3. Creating Dalhart 52 4. High Plains Deutsch 59 5. Last of the Great Plowup 73

II • BETRAYAL, 1931–1933

6. First Wave 91 7. A Darkening 103 8. In a Dry Land 115 9. New Leader, New Deal 128 10. Big Blows 136

III • BLOWUP, 1934–1939

11. Triage 145 12. The Long Darkness 155 13. The Struggle for Air 171 14. Showdown in Dalhart 176 15. Duster’s Eve 193 16. Black Sunday 198 17. A Call to Arms 222 18. Goings 236 19. Witnesses 242 20. The Saddest Land 254 21. Verdict 265 22. Cornhusker II 273 23. The Last Men 279 24. Cornhusker III 293 25. Rain 303

Epilogue 309 Notes and Sources 315 Acknowledgments 328 Index 331

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"A vivid and gritty piece of forgotten history." —-USA Today

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