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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Worst Hard Time

Book #8 was Seattleite Timothy Egan's National Book Award winning The Worst Hard Time.

A harrowing history of the Dust Bowl as told by those who lived through it. Egan elegantly weaves first-hand stories with historical context, explaining along the way the series of events that lead to one of the greatest ecological disasters ever. The writing is lucid and the stories are heartbreaking, but it's the incredible, terrifying storms that steal the show. If it were a horror film we'd dismiss the 'black blizzards' as too ridiculously over-the-top, but instead we're left to ponder the reality of the difficulties these people faced every day. Can you imagine spending weeks on end bunkering down in your house, draping wet sheets over your windows in an attempt to keep as much dust as you can out? And who's ever heard of dust pneumonia? Hard times indeed.

NPR Story and excerpt
Dust Bowl photos