The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived The Great American Dust Bowl, by Timothy Egan ****

I should probably give this book the fifth star it really deserves, but I was so demoralized at the end, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

What makes it worth going there, just when you know already your heart will be broken, is that this is a chunk of US history that rarely gets covered in K-12 education, and like most, I came away not knowing much about it. In fact, I was qualified to TEACH history before I knew much about it. Curiosity was the only thing that got me to go there, between those pages.

It’s a story with no heroes and no real survivors. It’s a grinding, miserable nightmare of a story. The environmental message is its raison d’etre, but of course, very little grassland in America is allowed to lie fallow, save perhaps that inside national park boundaries.

Why would ground so hospitable to grass, not accept wheat? That’s the question I went in with (being no kind of scientist) and I came out with an answer. As we look for ways to mend the annihilation humans and corporations have wrought on this earth, this particular ecological (and very human) story is one that has to be told. I read it, because I just had to know. I recommend you do the same.

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