book report: The Worst Hard Time by Tim Egan

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan is an excellent account of a desperate time, the Dustbowl during the Great Depression of the 1930's. After the Comanches were driven off the land promised to them and the buffalo were killed so the Indians couldn't return to live off the land, the cowboys came to raise beef cattle. The buffalo grass was wonderful for them but there was a glut in the beef market and it collapsed. So then the farmers came and ripped up all that sod to plant wheat. They made fortunes but then that market collapsed. Then the rain stopped. Then the Great Depression came. There was no plant to hold the arid land down. There was no money to buy the produce. The constant wind of the high plain eventually tore up the soil in sheets and blew it thousands of feet in the air. Sometimes these black blizzards would come day after day. But the rain did not come back for 7 years. Livestock and humans would suffocate in the storms. The dust would fill up attics and collapse ceilings on families. Finally, someone, Hugh Bennett, was able to convince Roosevelt that the land needed to be restored. The soil conservation service was formed and continues to this day. The rain finally came back too but the land, the people, the government were all radically changed afterwards. There has never been a duster like the Dust Bowl saw ever since.


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