The book takes us into the lives of families in places like Dalhart, Texas, and Boise City, Oklahoma. The main objective of this work was for today’s generations to bear in mind the importance of an historic event that changed politics, economy, weather, and every single personal-family matter in a big part of population in those times, the urgency of this drama relays in people who lived through those years who are in their final days, the story is a big seal in American history for and because of them, they need to be remembered better, and be considered as part of US history’s strength. This work makes us want to realize how much United States has changed rurally, and how far long ago it seems, time in which the most part of the population of this country worked on a farm. This tale should remain in memories of today’s US habitants.
The author takes a lot of examples to explain why anyone would have opted to stay in the Dust Bowl, instead of following other paths, which was most people’s options, and he goes from hope, faith, inventive, great descriptions.
Another important feature of this story is the damage to one of the richest ecosystems on earth. Dust storms as high as a skyscrapers running across landscape, choking people and animals, and eventually laying waste are history facts that can not pass by today’s generations.
The author studies the what happened and what became from of the Dust Bowl “The Worst hard Time”, not only with the knowledge brought out to life from all the search study brings, he emphasizes his work on experiences of the survivors, suffered and rebuild the time being, and even those who did not stay among to tell, economically or physically.
The author is a national enterprise reporter for the New York Times, author of four books, winner of the Pulitzer Price.
The advance of farming culture in the area also brought changes in land usage. Families those days did not tend to stay in one place, population devoted in a 35 percent to their land, and farms. They fed cattle on the prairie grasses, their activities were based on busting the sod for agriculture, then a combination of unfortunate events turn turned a peaceful trading life, it became into a national nightmare. Grain brought high prices, thanks to demand. The stability of commerce more money and strength was put into these areas. Then people would witness an ecological wonder of beauty and venom. “Anybody who lived in No Man’s Land for long knew about nature’s capricious power,” Egan writes. “It was abusive, a beater, a snarling son of a bitch, and then it would forgive and give something back.” The scenarios were Texas and Oklahoma, southeastern of Colorado, western Kansas up to Nebraska.
Economy improvement was on progress, definitely there was not a strong base to hold the ecological disaster, its concept happened when there was circular rainfall, and othe wather conditions turned unusual. The weather conditions were simply a n impossible to human activity. Millions and millions of acres literally flew as dust on the sky. So much dust nighttime lights had to me on at noon.
Stories lived inside families living through this, detail by detail. More than an economic impact, emotions and values were played. Static electricity was so great it could knock a person down, Egan affirms. All methods were applied to prevent electric shocks, for example vehicles could simply stop because of a discharge of static electricity, reason why they had to drag chains to create ground. Breathing dust particles was not an option for everything and everyone in those areas, silica on the air, the combination and accumulation could cause serious respiratory fatalities and finally death. By 1930 dust pneumonia, was lethal and grew bigger from then on. Migration was the greatest option.
A report is found; the federal Great Plains Drought Area Committee act (1938), it concluded: “The Federal homestead policy, which kept land allotments low and required that a portion of each should be plowed, is now seen to have caused immeasurable harm”. With President Roosevelt various entities were created: Civilian Conservation Corps, and Soil Conservation districts, for example. Roosevelt subsided farmers, and not being enough, started buying land due that nobody was willing to work on them. The Dust Bowl years produced natural and political effects that remain his real focus is on the people that lived it, what was confronted and how they managed survival.
This book seems to be based on interviews and exploration done by the author. Some of the biggest supporters to recall were; Ike Osten, Jeanne Clark, Melt White. The author also takes census’s information as important part of his research. Other literary work confirms author’s investigations; Donald Worster also wrote a book called “Dust bowl”.
That would have counted as not enough, but time was taken to visit XIT museum, some quotes from newspapers of those fatidic years (Dalhart Texan, May 1 1930, for example). Economic depression information from those years was also gathered along with weather details from History of United States Weather Bureau all the way through eyewitness accounts, and cable communications between authorities done on different episodes of this disaster. I believe reporter Timothy Egan did a meticulous great research on this book, he took historic time to seal the history of a time that is about to die on its last witnesses.
This work is filled with inventive and detailed originality in the most minimal descriptive ways. The quality of the book is good, easy language to be read, difficult on the timelines since the author escapes many times to different times, lives, and stories. It is a research work filled with, descriptive narrative, and important history based information.
History needs to be studied more so if is as crucial as this remarkable event. I believe the easiest way to denote importance is picturing ourselves living this situations, not even back in the 30’s, but our times, I think it will be still very tragic, maybe today’s technology will find a faster solution to a problem like this, once the damage is done, but still there would be many greedy consequences. Let us imagine what people in those fatidic years would have done, knowing that all their lives and survival were devoted to their agricultural land. Politics, economy, weather; all of those changing factors are to be studied carefully, and taken on count as a part of our development.
The book appeals to any sort of reader; definitely most appreciated by people interested in history, and geology. The author tried to teach nowadays generations of teenagers, and adults about how older generations struggled to forge a great country in spite of such a tremendous ecological, political and economical disaster. With all the scientific research also gathered this book can easily be treated as material to study geology, agriculture, medicine, nutrition, etc. all these reflecting the many consequences of the “Dust Bowl”.
In conclusion this book is definitely different from other material studied in class, the difference is mostly driven by the different angles of study in which this book can be taken (political, economical, geological, psychological, etc,.), the lecture gives a great deal of information that brings you back to the time of the Dust Bowl, I believe that was one of the author’s main purpose. I would never imagine such terrible coincidence of events like the one that made the Dust Bowl happened, people did not have enough knowledge to prevent, and definitely that time’s society was not prepared for what was to come or mainly either the cause of their agricultural modifications, and weather conditions. All told gave me a great deal of interest in this geological phenomenon, it has been really interesting, but sad to get inside all those homes and live the suffering of those families, I consider them as heroes.
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