Monday, June 29, 2009

Un-Book Club Book

I believe a more traditional person would call this a book read for leisure.

Back in January, I presented a list of book suggestions to my book club for our March book. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan was on my list; it wasn't picked. A few months later another book club member suggested it as well; again it wasn't picked. But she had brought a physical copy with her to book club. I mentioned how I had really wanted to read it and she let me borrow it.

This was back in April, in the midst of our packing and moving process thus I didn't read it in a very timely fashion. However I finished it over the weekend.

The full title of the book describes clearly the book's contents - The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl. In all honesty, I was not very familiar with The Dust Bowl. I had heard of it and knew it occured during The Great Depression, but outside of that didn't know much and certainly hadn't realized how long it lasted!

Throughout the book, Timothy Egan follows several families across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico at the end of the wheat boom and the vast plowing of the native grasses in order to have more land to cultivate. When the land enters a multi-year drought these same families lose without viable crops are forced to live without income for several years, selling the majority of their belongings to keep their land. All the while the land they had plowed turned to dust and blew continually forming dust storms that at times blacked out the sun and reached as far as the East Coast. People of the Great Plains died of dust pnemonia and their farm animals starved; their insides literally filled with dust.

Throughout the book the author discusses the causes of the dust bowl - and while nature did play a role with a drought, which was not a-typical to the region, the true cause was human interference. The grasslands of the plains were not intended to be farmland; they were best suited as they had been - grasslands.

It is a very interesting book and opened my eyes to a period of time I didn't know much about. I might end up buying my own copy to read again (mostly because my water bottle leaked on the one I borrowed and feel badly giving it back in that condition). So if you want to borrow my copy, let me know... :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved this book too. -- Janet Hill