Mon
12

History Hijinks Book Club: The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

Monday, September 12, 2011

7:00 PM-8:00 PM

Cost: Free

Providence Public Library
150 Empire Street
Providence, RI 02903

Trustee's Room (3rd Floor)

September 12 - The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

History HiJinks is the name of our wonderful book club at the Providence Public Library. Always informative and entertaining, we meet once a month (usually the first Monday night) from 7:00 - 8:00 pm. We’re big fans of the democratic process and welcome new members regardless of their history background. To register, please call or email Nancy: nancycallanan@cox.net; 401-787-4152. For more information, check out our blog .

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: "Dust clouds boiled up, ten thousand feet or more in the sky, and rolled like moving mountains" in what became known as the Dust Bowl. But the plague was man-made, as Egan shows: the plains weren't suited to farming, and plowing up the grass to plant wheat, along with a confluence of economic disaster—the Depression—and natural disaster—eight years of drought—resulted in an ecological and human catastrophe that Egan details with stunning specificity. He grounds his tale in portraits of the people who settled the plains: hardy Americans and immigrants desperate for a piece of land to call their own and lured by the lies of promoters who said the ground was arable. Egan's interviews with survivors produce tales of courage and suffering: Hazel Lucas, for instance, dared to give birth in the midst of the blight only to see her baby die of "dust pneumonia" when her lungs clogged with the airborne dirt. With characters who seem to have sprung from a novel by Sinclair Lewis or Steinbeck, and Egan's powerful writing, this account will long remain in readers' minds. (Dec. 14) Publisher's Weekly

TIMOTHY EGAN is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and the author of five books, most recently The Worst Hard Time, which won a National Book Award for nonfiction and was named a New York Times Editors' Choice, a New York Times Notable Book, a Washington State Book Award winner, and a Book Sense Book of the Year Honor Book. He writes a weekly column, "Outposts," for the New York Times.

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