Book review

The Worst Hard Time

Timothy Egan

In a few words

A non-fiction account of the hardships of those who thought they could better their lives, but could not.

Great for

Those who are interested in learning about the lives and times of the families who lived through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression in 1930's USA.

Why I love this book

I did not know the history of the Dust Bowl and why so many families went to live there, so I learned a lot from this book. I thought it was very well written and I could easily imagine how the farmers and their families felt when the crops failed — their earth turned to dust, all because of the aggressive farming methods used to make the land produce food for people living elsewhere. The descriptions of the dust storms were very real and you felt for the animals.

Some were able to leave their farms, but what about those who could not afford to? And even those that did leave — what kind of life would they be able to make during the Great Depression?

I remember one group's comments reflected on the similarities with The MacKenzie Basin here in New Zealand — perhaps there are some ecological lessons here too.

This review was submitted by current BDS volunteer and former staff member, Trisha Coffin