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The Worst Hard Time
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl | Timothy Egan
In a tour de force of historical reportage, Timothy Egans National Book Awardwinning 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.
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review
JennF13
Pickpick

This is a great read for anyone interested in the history of the Dust Bowl. Since it is non-fiction, it‘s hard for the author to make it explosive and suspenseful, and let‘s be honest - what‘s explosive and suspenseful about living 5+ years in a drought?? The author portrays the daily grind, the daily battle with Mother Nature very well IMO. This is well written, interesting and well worth the time if the topic is of interest to you. Recommended.

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Coffeymuse
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Learned so much about No Man's Land OK/TX and other areas that suffered through the Dust Bowl. Really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to Ken Burns' documentary this weekend!

This was one of my #Roll100 books for June, @puddlejumper!

PuddleJumper Wahoo! That's great! 3mo
11 likes1 comment
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Coffeymuse
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Finished “Ridgeline“ last week and absolutely loved it.

About 20% done with “Worst Hard Time“ and so far really enjoying it.

“No Accident“ is next-I previously read 98 pages in this and moved on to other books. My library has a summer reading program bingo and one of the squares was last book in a series. “No Accident“ is the most current and last published of the Posadas County books.

That's my #BookReport and #WeeklyForecast!

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Tamra
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I loved this when I read it - been a long time! For those of you interested in the American dust bowl, I recommend it. Kindle sale for $2.99.

SamAnne Timothy Egan is a great writer! 12mo
Amiable Oh, this is one of my favorites. A great example of the narrative nonfiction genre. 12mo
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MarkoPDX
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Mehso-so

I often identify [ The Grapes of Wrath ] as my favorite book, and I think it helped stoke my interest in things like the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Someone recommended this for #MuseumPlaceBookGroup , so I was excited to read it. I ultimately got bored with it and skipped passages.

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Julsmarshall
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Pickpick

Wow! What an expansive, terrifying, heartbreaking slice of history. Humans have been impacting climate change in the US for over a century and we haven‘t gotten any more self aware yet. I love it when an author can make history feel so real that you are immersed in the story and this book didn‘t disappoint. Highly recommend! #BookspinBingo #MountTBR #Bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks I've heard great things about this one! Glad you enjoyed it!! 2y
Amiable Love this book —one of my favorites 2y
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suvata
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Pickpick

Everything you ever wanted to know about the great American Dust Bowl, and I mean everything. This was really an eye-opener for me. I just can‘t imagine what those people went through. I don‘t think that most people today are hardy enough to survive such an event.

Amiable I loved this book so much more than I ever thought I would! It‘s so good. 3y
Hooked_on_books I haven‘t read this one, but I like Egan. He‘s so readable. 3y
suvata @Hooked_on_books It was very interesting 3y
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Eggs
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I read this last year and was amazed by the horrors of the dust bowl. Then I watched a Ken Burns documentary about it-so devastating

#hardtimes

#newyearnewyou

67 likes3 stack adds
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Ephemera
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Pickpick

This is a wonderful book about a horrible time in our history. It is about the Dust Bowl, how it happened and the effect it had on the people who lived through it. It follows the lives of homesteading farmers as they see their lives destroyed by Nature. It‘s heartbreaking to read this book, but if you don‘t know much about this era I urge you to buy it or check it out and be prepared to be educated. Five out of 5 stars. Excellent.

Bookwormjillk This book had a big impact on me. I even went to visit the area this summer. 3y
2 likes1 comment
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Amiable
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When I saw that today‘s prompt for #KeepLitsyActive is #disasters, this book immediately came to mind. It‘s the mesmerizing true accounts of the settlers who stayed and tried to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Well written and highly recommended. @ljuliel

#NFNov
@rsteve388 @Clwojick

ljuliel Thank you. That‘s another I have yet to read. It looks like I‘ve got plenty of disaster books to catch up on. 3y
Clwojick 1 pt. 3y
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Califlamingo

"Of all the countries of the world, we Americans have been the greatest destroyers of land of any race of people barbaric or civilized." Hugh Hammond Bennett

pigeonsandcrows One of my favorite nonfiction books! 3y
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Pandalibrarian
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Pickpick

A bit late for book club, but I finished last month‘s choice tonight. It was a good book, thoroughly researched, and mostly easy to read. It did get a bit long at times. Overall, I liked learning about the dust bowl from those who lived through it.

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TracyReadsBooks
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Pickpick

This book tells a remarkable, seemingly impossible story all the more riveting & mind-blowing because it is true. That it happened not even 100 years ago is incredible, that we‘ve learned so little about the power of the natural world & how human agency can change environmental conditions so dramatically it can take the land decades to recover (if at all), even more so. There are lessons for today in this book about the Dust Bowl. Recommended.

Crazeedi This was a sobering, excellent book . 3y
Smrloomis Completely agree, this book is amazing. 3y
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TracyReadsBooks
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This is so not okay...🐝🐜🦗🕷

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TracyReadsBooks
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Saturday morning reading while the family is asleep, the sunlight is cascading in through the windows and the birds are chirping is just the best. I‘m really enjoying this book and actually don‘t mind that my busy schedule has kept me from cranking through it. It‘s very well-written, compelling history and a book I can recommend even before I finish reading it.

Texreader I like this time on a Saturday morning too. Let them sleep in! It‘s a lovely time a day to spend alone doing things you love 3y
Bklover Your morning sounds lovely. Enjoy! 3y
22 likes2 comments
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TracyReadsBooks
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“The house had no water. No toilet. No electric power.”

This book really does make for fascinating reading—from the ways in which people were lured to settle in this part of the country and how warnings about the environmental impact of agricultural practices were ignored to the challenges of daily life. I‘m still in the thick of it but if you are a fan of nonfiction and haven‘t already read this book, I highly recommend it.

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TracyReadsBooks
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This book pretty much hooks you with the very first line. Very much enjoying this well-written, fascinating account of The Great American Dust Bowl.

Pandalibrarian That‘s our next book club pick. Now I‘m looking forward to reading it. I was kind of dreading it before. 3y
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TracyReadsBooks
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Why read one book when you can read two? Continuing with Good Omens for fiction and starting the tagged book for my next nonfiction read. (We‘ll talk about all the #NCBD releases later...)

CaitlinR I devour Timothy Egan‘s work. This is a great read! #timothyegan 3y
22 likes1 comment
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SharonGoforth
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I went to the library today to pick up two books on hold (the Timothy Egans) and came home with five, as you do. 📚. #nosuchthingastoomanybooks #libraryhaul #fromthelibrary

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Eggs
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Good account of how the Dust Bowl evolved. I learned a lot, but it was saddest for the innocents: children and animals. Large families moved to the plains, where it all went wrong. The little ones perished from dust pneumonia.

I'm at home with pneumonia myself (not the dust kind). At least I get uninterrupted reading time for a few days

AmyG Oh no. Hope you are well, soon! 4y
Bookwormjillk I liked this one too. He‘s a good author 4y
Bookwormjillk PS feel better soon 4y
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Judybskt Get better!! 4y
Lynnsoprano Oh, no! Hope you are better soon! 4y
tammysue So sorry to hear you‘re not feeling well! ❤️ (edited) 4y
Leftcoastzen Hope you are better soon!❤️ 4y
DHill Hope you feel better soon! 4y
inthegreensandblues I was really affected by this book. Hope you are feeling better soon! 4y
erzascarletbookgasm Feel better soon. 4y
dragondrool Feel better soon! 4y
cobwebmoth Hope you feel better soon! 4y
Redwritinghood Hope you recover quickly! 4y
JessClark78 Hope you feel better soon. 🌺 4y
Dragon Feel better soon! Sending positive energy your way! 💐 4y
Reggie Oh no, hope you feel better soon. 4y
NenaB Get well soon💐💐💐 4y
KChilds I lived for a time in Sand Springs, OK. My house was from the Arts & Crafts period, built in 1927, and it was a true fixer-upper. My husband and I spent quite some time (and a whole lot of money restoring and remodelling it. We had to open up the bathroom walls, which, to our surprise, exposed burnt timbers which had to be replaced. We also replaced the sub-floor, and eventually leveled and re-tiled that floor. What was so amazing to me was (cont. 4y
KChilds the consistency of the dirt under that section of our house. I don‘t think that section had been seen since the Dust Bowl. The soil was so very fine, silt-like, and almost had a static charge to it. Everything became coated with it. Shortly after being exposed to it, I became very ill with a severe respiratory infection which along with other issues, landed me in the Acute Care Ward. I have no idea how those people endured through that hell. 4y
Eggs Quite a story!! Not only were they dust-sick but starving and penniless as well 🤭 @KChilds (edited) 4y
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Amiable
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Thanks for the tag, @KathrynElise !

1. Love both, but narrative nonfiction is my jam
2. Tagged—it‘s about the Dust Bowl and those who stayed and struggled to survive
3. Home economics (yes. We actually had to take that in junior high. I‘m that old. And I still can‘t cook.)
4. U.S.: Revolutionary War, Civil War. Also fascinated with Ancient Rome
5. @RvnclawWhovian @msford88

#frideas

Gaylagal2 Hahaha! I had to take that shitty, humiliating class too🤬 And I can't cook (don't want to) either 😉 (edited) 4y
Amiable @Gaylagal2 I can‘t sew, either! 😆 4y
Gaylagal2 😂😂 4y
SailorMoon Thanks for playing!!! 💕🤟🏻🌙 4y
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howjessicareads
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this!! Have you read it? The details about how bad the storms were were mind blowing!! #howjessreadsin2019

rubyslippersreads I haven‘t read it, but it came highly recommended to me by a friend, so I probably will at some point. 4y
GondorGirl This one blew my mind! It was both fascinating and tragic. 4y
sk888888 The PBS series was devastating to watch, too. 4y
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Kimberlone I highly recommend the Ken Burns PBS documentary on the Dust Bowl 4y
howjessicareads I will have to check out the documentary too! @Kimberlone @sk888888 @GondorGirl @rubyslippersreads 4y
sk888888 @howjessreads get your tissues ready first! 4y
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howjessicareads
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Well, slight change of plans because I‘m still coughing uncontrollably. 😒 My husband took our eldest to participate in Academic Jeopardy today, and I‘m home #audiobaking.

When America‘s Test Kitchen says “big beautiful muffins” they aren‘t kidding. (Kid for scale — it‘s half the size of her face!) 😂

ladyonequestion Those muffins look amazing 😋 4y
Crazeedi Please send one(or more) asap!😉❤️ 4y
Soubhiville Mmmmm! Feel better! 4y
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cobwebmoth Aw, I hope you start feeling better soon. 4y
whatsthEStorey Those muffins look delicious! And your kiddo‘s eyes show she thinks so too! 👀 4y
Lauram ATK is the best! I hope you‘re feeling better. 4y
howjessicareads I am all better! And we have had muffins for breakfast several days running. 🙂 Thanks everyone! @Lauram @whatsthEStorey @cobwebmoth @Soubhiville @Crazeedi @ladyonequestion 4y
87 likes7 comments
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msford88
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Pickpick

Egan tells an extraordinary tale in this visceral account of how America's great, grassy plains turned to dust, and how the ferocious plains winds stirred up an endless series of "black blizzards" that were like a biblical plague. A truly eye-opening book. I was blown away by the intensity of this time period and the persistence of those living through it.

Bookwormjillk I loved this book. 4y
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Amiable
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1. Connecticut, U.S.
2. John Boyne! ?
3. I own 535 books still TBR ?
4. My couch
5. The tagged book is must-read for any history buff. Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" is a fictional tale of a poor family of sharecroppers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought and economic hardship during the Depression. This has true tales of settlers who stayed to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones.

suvata 535 books. Wowzers! 4y
Amiable @suvata Some are e-books, so it doesn't look quite that bad in terms of clutter in my house! At least there's that. 😀 4y
suvata @Amiable 👍🏻 4y
68 likes4 comments
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cmastfalk
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These were the selections my husband and I made for our prizes at the local library‘s summer reading program. The Worst Hard Time is readable history. Learned a lot about the dust bowl and enjoyed it!

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Amiable
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Congratulations on your #hundredgrand milestone, @LaurenReads ! The tagged book is one of my nonfiction favorites. It's great to read in a fiction-nonfiction pairing with "The Grapes of Wrath." ?

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Smrloomis
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This is a fantastic non-fiction read now on sale in various formats 🎉

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GondorGirl
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I'm listening to the tagged audio book about the dust storms in the 1930s and had to pause to look up some pictures. Absolutely terrifying...

Tamra I learned a lot from this book - terrifying! 5y
8leagueboot This book revealed so much to me. I had no idea how much the events of the Dust Bowl shaped policy! 5y
GondorGirl @Tamra @8leagueboot I knew only the bare minimum and this has been a huge eye opener. It's fascinating how so many policies came into place because of the dust storms. Also, it's a prime example of how we have to take care of the earth or things will go to hell. 5y
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Samplergal There is a horrifying documentary on amazon or Netflix that chronicles this. 5y
GondorGirl @Samplergal Oooo- I'll have to check that out! 5y
Scurvygirl I worked nights while we finished up a punch list on a huge job and the only channels we got were news channels and the weather channel. We watched the Dust Bowl every night for a week at dinner! 🙄 5y
Eggs Unimaginable 5y
Suet624 Can you imagine seeing that? 5y
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UrsulaMonarch
Mehso-so

Finally finished - the subject matter is completely fascinating and I learned a lot. But the tone was sometimes off to me and I would have preferred less delving into the lives of particular individuals, which slowed the book down considerably.

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Kristelh
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@JenP thanks, this was hard.😅#FiveStarPredictions Not sure what the rules were but these are some of my faves. I will tag @RidgewayGirl

BarbaraBB I loved the Faulkner and the Steinbeck so I guess I'll have to read the others! 5y
Kristelh @BarbaraBB the Worst Hard Times is non fiction, the Year of Magical Thinking is a memoir by Didion when her husband died, and The Sparrow is science Fiction. 5y
Smrloomis I thought the Egan and the Didion were both fantastic! 5y
RidgewayGirl Wonderful choices. The Worst Hard Time was a 5 star read for me. I'll post my own as soon as i'm home. 5y
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SaraBeagle
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batsy Yes! 5y
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SaraBeagle
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Listening to this while I made dinner last night and my 12 year old is fascinated. He wanted me to start over at the beginning for him ☺️

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Gezemice
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This book about the American dust bowl is about as horrifying as it gets about the effects of #norain. Cautionary tale about humans messing with nature they don't understand. This is a good book but about a third longer than it should be.
#90sinJuly

Cinfhen So devastating 😣 5y
Zelma I tried listening to the audio of this one and didn't care for it. I wonder if I'd have liked it more in print. I don't remember my reason for bailing on it. 5y
Gezemice @Zelma It was a book club book. I did find the story fascinating, but after a while it got very repetitive. The author conducted interviews with people who survived the dust bowl, and seemed to want to put all of them into the book. (edited) 5y
64 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Bookwormjillk
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Our current road trip read. So interesting. Highly recommend.

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ValerieAndBooks
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#Dustinthewind My grandparents were Okies who lost their farm in the Dust Bowl, and became migrant workers in California. Eventually settled there and after WWII Pop owned a gas station back when the workers had dapper uniforms. Their 4 oldest were born in Oklahoma and last two (one was my mom) were born in the migrant worker camps in CA. My mom once asked why the family never went camping outings and Nannie said "too much like real life". ?

ValerieAndBooks Picture of Pop and Nannie with their oldest in Oklahoma, as reproduced in a family cookbook my mom made. Book tagged is excellent, a pick. 5y
Cinfhen Amazing photo! Thanks for sharing your family history 💝 5y
Cinfhen So cool your family produced a cookbook too! What a great way to preserve memories 5y
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Cinfhen It's a shame they don't really teach much about this time in American History ~ book tagged sounds fascinating! 5y
AnnieReads Great history! I'm an Oklahoman and find this history to be fascinating. 5y
ValerieAndBooks @Cinfhen thanks! My mom produced the cookbook several years ago and I love leafing through it for all the old family pictures. 5y
ValerieAndBooks @AnnieReads that's cool, what part? My grandparents (who did call themselves Okies, BTW) were from Olustee and we made a family road trip to there many many years ago. It was the first time I ever saw fireflies -- so magical. 5y
BB1958 Given your background you may find this novel of some interest: I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows. It's on my list 5y
AnnieReads I'm from Yukon. It's in the middle of the state. 5y
Hobbinol Oh I just love to hear a family story! And a wonderful picture to boot! ❤️❤️❤️ 5y
ValerieAndBooks @BB1958 interestingly, it turns out I stacked this one here on Litsy but I don't know when or who from. I'll have to look for it in earnest now! 5y
ValerieAndBooks @AnnieReads sounds like it's a few hours away, then. Olustee is in the SW corner of the bottom of the "pan" -- in case you didn't know, as it was (still is, maybe?) a very small farming town. 5y
ValerieAndBooks @Hobbinol they had some interesting stories, that's for sure. And old pictures are just fun to look at, aren't they? 5y
Zelma Wow, that is really interesting. And it's great that you were able to learn your family history (I have some branches that are a giant question mark). 5y
ValerieAndBooks @Zelma although both sides of my family have been traced pretty far back genealogically, I'm afraid I don't know too much about my mom's side's family stories-- they just didn't seem to talk about the past that much. Got me to thinking I need to have my mom tell me as much as she knows before it's too late. And I know what you mean about question marks -- my hubby's family is full of them (story wise and genealogically). 5y
Crinoline_Laphroaig Hey @AnnieReads I live out in the country near the one stoplight town of Chouteau. 5y
AnnieReads @missnavigation I always loved the name Chouteau! I moved to Minnesota in 2001 and have settled in nicely but I do miss the small town feel of Oklahoma. (edited) 5y
Lexeegee After reading this book last year, my husband and I did a weekend road trip tracing the towns in the oklahoma and texas panhandle. Very interesting trip. 5y
LeahBergen This is amazing 💗 5y
ValerieAndBooks @Lexeegee that's very cool. Was there much change since the 1930s in those towns? 5y
Lexeegee @ValerieAndBooks There are still old houses in the country that are from that era. I have some awesome pictures of the shells of some houses. The smaller towns still have the buildings in the old parts of town. 5y
ValerieAndBooks @Lexeegee very cool...I'm definitely fascinated by abandoned houses and ghost towns! 5y
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Hollie
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Pickpick

#weather #aprilbookshowers
It's pouring rain here on the plains of KS this weekend, but in the 30s, a series of droughts and poor farming practices turned this region into part of the Dust Bowl, which added misery on top of the depression. Dust storms turned the sky black and ruined plant and animal (& human) life. I am a US historian, but I learned a lot from this book when I read it several years ago. @RealLifeReading

Gezemice I learned a lot from it, too. I knew nothing about the dust bowl. But I remember it being too long, repeating too many harrowing experiences. If this book was a third shorter, it would have been much better. 5y
Hollie @Gezemice it was pretty long. At the time I was stuck working in an out of town clinic for the day, so I was grateful for a really long read to save me from my boredom! 5y
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Nitpickyabouttrains
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Pickpick

This book followed the personal stories of people who survived the dust bowl. It made a huge part of American history seem more personal. The details were amazing. #bookbingo #roguebookbingo #nationalbookawardwinner

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Ellsbells
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Staying in #nonfiction mode with an insightful, #awardwinning look into how the destruction of an economy, a working class, and a biosphere all combined into a disaster that is not fairly or comprehensively understood. Gaining that 20/20 hindsight in droves.

courtney Welcome to Litsy! This sounds really interesting. I haven't read much nonfiction about this time in history! 6y
Ellsbells Same for me, @courtney! It has really opened my eyes to a piece of American history I was woefully uninformed about. Loving Litsy so far, it's addictive! 6y
CrowCAH @Ellsbells thanks for the recommendation to get on Litsy to build my author platform! It's Cynthia from the Agape Theology on Tap, when your mother spoke to the group, at Mr. Bs. 6y
10 likes3 comments
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8leagueboot
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Cauldron Cup and I got up early to sneak in some reading before paperwork.

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8leagueboot
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A soil specialist speaking out against the exploitative roots of the tragic Dust Bowl in 1932. One hopes that we can learn from history...

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GoneFishing

Of all the countries in the world, we Americans have been the greatest destroyers of land of any race of people barbaric or civilized," Bennett said in a speech at the start of the dust storms. What was happening, he said, was "sinister", a symptom of "our stupendous ignorance.

Cobscook Great book! The audio is so fantastic! 6y
librariankris @jdtchicago Totally agree, @Cobscook - what a great read! 6y
8leagueboot I just cited this exact quote. It hit me right in the truth. 6y
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8leagueboot
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The Steinbeck fan in me is so ready for this nonfiction account of the Dust Bowl. "Dust clouds boiled up, ten thousand feet or more in the sky, and rolled like moving mountains..."

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Julsmarshall
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Sad day, our little local bookstore is going out of business. They will be missed 😢 I was happy to give a home to so many books that I've wanted for a long time.

Alfoster So sad...but glad you got some good titles!😀 6y
brendanmleonard So sad! I really liked Timothy Egan's book. 6y
AnnieReads That is very sad. 😥 6y
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rachelm 😰 6y
NatalieR 😱😢 6y
Julsmarshall I know 😢 all if the books above came out to $30. 6y
mamaguru Bel Canto is a favorite of mine. Sorry about the bookstore. 6y
Alytrue Bel Canto one of my all-time favorites. So sad when an indie closes😥 6y
Carol Damn, sad day with a silver lining though. 6y
SaraFair 😔 6y
41 likes2 stack adds10 comments
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Julsmarshall

Sad day, our little local bookstore is going out of business. They will be missed 😢 I was happy to give a home to so many books that I've wanted for a long time.

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megt
Pickpick

Interesting exploration of the American plains. Egan not only discusses the catastrophic dust storms of the 1930s but also the history of the region. It may not be the most comprehensive history, but it was a good overview about an area/era I didn't know much about before. I didn't love the narrator, but I've found I prefer this sort of nonfiction on audio. Otherwise I sometimes feel like I'm reading a textbook and have trouble staying engaged.

AliReads I've been looking forward to this - the Ken Burns doc based heavily around this book is really great, too!!! 6y
megt @AliReads I forgot about that doc! I need to check it out! 6y
8leagueboot @AliReads there's a Ken Burns documentary around this? I know what I'll be getting from the library when I finish! 6y
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megt
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Halfway & I haven't warmed up to the narrator. The writing is engaging so I'll keep listening.

Some of my reading picks fall in a category I inelegantly call "at least things aren't this bad." A history of the dust bowl felt just right for this week. Work may seem like I'm banging my head against a wall, but at least I'm not stuck in these storms.

Anyone else find themselves turning to certain themes/genres when you need some life perspective?

AmyS I do the opposite. When things are tough in my life, I like to either escape into a light and funny book or go back to an old favorite from when I was younger and life was simpler. 6y
megt @AmyS I do that, too. I seem to fluctuate between the escapist/funny books and the bleaker ones. 6y
[DELETED] 2232195534 I'm with @AmyS. But, I do have this book on my list. My grandparents and parents lived through the Dust Bowl in the Texas Panhandle. Can remember them talking about it. 6y
megt @kaysreadinglife I do sometimes gravitate to lighter stuff at times like this, but clearly I'm just in a darker mood right now! I'm finding the deep, intricate history very interesting, but I imagine it would be even more so having a familial connection to the events. 6y
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