Timothy Egan The Worst Hard Time

Last updated date: June 17, 2019

DWYM Score
9.5

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We looked at the top 1 Non-Fiction Books and dug through the reviews from 9 of the most popular review sites including Kirkus Reviews, Book Browse, The Good Human, Green and Grateful, Book Page, AG Daily, Prairie Fire Newspaper, Smithsonian Magazine, Publishers Weekly and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Non-Fiction Book you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 87 expert reviews, the Timothy Egan Timothy Egan The Worst Hard Time placed 5th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 2, 2019:
Checkout The Best Non-Fiction Book for a detailed review of all the top non-fiction books.

Expert Summarized Score
10.0
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.0
2,039 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Stark and powerful, a gripping if depressing read and a timely reminder that a Nature abused can exact a terrible retribution.
- Kirkus Reviews
As only great history can, Egan's book captures the very voice of the times: its grit, pathos, and abiding courage. Combining the human drama of Isaac's Storm with the sweep of The American People in the Great Depression, The Worst Hard Time is a lasting and important work of American history.
- Book Browse
I have just finished reading The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl and I cannot believe I did not read this book before now. In amazing fashion, author Timothy Egan covers the history of those who lived through the Dust Bowl, a period in our past in which severe dust storms absolutely destroyed the middle of the country. Reading it was like reading a book of fiction, the stories are so extreme and mind-blowing; I really had trouble believing that all of that went on back in the middle of the 1930’s.
- The Good Human
I can’t imagine the research and time that went into this book. I think it is a great retelling of the history of the time and would highly recommend it!
- Green and Grateful
June 14, 2013 | Full review
Bennett's soil conservation program, launched in haste that April afternoon in Washington, D.C., has replanted much of the area with grass and united farmers in a scheme to rotate crops and save soil. It is the only one of Roosevelt's New Deal initiatives that survives today. But ghost towns and occasional dust storms still remind us that we displace nature at our own peril.
- Book Page
January 1, 2006 | Full review
The stories are real and, in some cases, heartbreaking. They show the resilience of the American farmer and show you just how much hope there was (and still is) in the phrase, “well, there’s always next year.
- AG Daily
January 30, 2018 | Full review
His fresh interviews with survivors bring their experiences to our attention anew. At another level, Egan’s book is an effort to arrive at a workable understanding of what is possible for people who live on the Great Plains.
- Prairie Fire Newspaper
In 2002, Egan set out on an extraordinary odyssey, determined to record the experiences of Dust Bowl survivors before their eyewitness accounts were lost to history. His intention was to document a largely untold chapter in American history: the stories of those who—unable or unwilling to abandon their hard-won farms and towns—had not fled.
- Smithsonian Magazine
March 1, 2006 | Full review
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.
- Publishers Weekly
November 28, 2005 | Full review
What experts didn't like
I found this book to be a bit long at 340 pages, but the length helped me to realize how this drug on for the people who suffered through this time.
- Green and Grateful
June 14, 2013 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

TIMOTHY EGAN is a national enterprise reporter for the New York Times. He is the author of five books and the recipient of several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Tara Westover Educated: A Memoir
Overall Score: 9.9
Expert Reviews: 10
2. David Grann Killers of the Flower Moon
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 10
3. Dalai Lama The Book of Joy
Overall Score: 9.7
Expert Reviews: 8
4. Candice Millard Destiny of the Republic
Overall Score: 9.7
Expert Reviews: 9
5. Timothy Egan The Worst Hard Time
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 9
6. Regina Calcaterra Etched in Sand
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 4
7. Jimmy Wayne / Ken Abraham: Walk to Beautiful
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 4
10. Douglas Preston The Lost City of the Monkey God
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On Non-Fiction Books

  • Before breaking into the world of non-fiction novels, decide what sub-genre you are most interested in reading about. This will help narrow down your search in this broad genre.
  • Talk to a librarian about any new authors that are getting great reviews. They will have first-hand feedback from readers of those novels.
  • Use the resources at your fingertips, such as the internet, to research. There are plenty of websites that offer book reviews. So utilize them and find a great non-fiction novel to get started reading today.
  • If you are taking a college course and want supporting documentation on a topic you are learning about, the non-fiction novels will definitely add some dimension to your education.

DYWM Fun Fact

  • The psychology niche offers non-fiction readers outrageous and factual stories, such as “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Trials” by Oliver Sacks.
  • “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote was supposedly the very first non-fiction novel ever written.
  • Among the top 100 most popular non-fiction books are “The History of the World” by Walter Raleigh, “Common Sense” by Tom Paine, “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” by Benjamin Franklin and “Tales from Shakespeare” by Charles and Mary Lamb.
  • Another term for non-fiction novels is literary non-fiction.
  • Non-fiction does not discriminate by age or ethnicity. Every age can read and enjoy a book from the non-fiction genre. These days, non-fiction novels are becoming increasingly incorporated into education and the lives of young adults.
  • Good Sense Reading offers a list of age-classified, non-fiction books for parents to utilize on their website.

The Non-Fiction Book Buying Guide

There’s nothing better than a great book. Some prefer an imaginative story or fiction book while others thrive on non-fiction, factual storylines that tell us of real events. The non-fiction genres offer readers an incredible glimpse into the lifestyles and characters of actual people but often written with a dramatic flair. Truman Capote, the author of “In Cold Blood,” was said to have started this genre in 1965 when the novel was published (although, this is often not believed since there are several other non-fiction novels published previous to this date). There are countless sub-genres within the non-fiction novel genre, so be sure to check them all out before making your purchase.

There are quite a few ways that authors have approached non-fiction novels. Although the characters are real people and most of the facts are actual, there can be some imaginative writing in between, especially in conversations and such. The other approach is packed with all facts and strictly to the point, so the reader doesn’t have to guess what is factual versus imaginative. Both are interesting reads; however, you’ll have to decide for yourself which is most captivating.

Perhaps one of the most well-known sub-genres of non-fiction novels is a memoir or autobiography. Most have read a memoir in part, if not in entirety, during their school years. Memoirs are perhaps the most accurate works you will find in the genre since they are narrated by the individual themselves. In the autobiography, “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover, readers will get an entire picture of a woman overcoming her lack of primary education and isolation when she enters the intimidating realm of college. Another incredible memoir is “Etched in Sand” by Regina Calcaterra. She relives her abusive childhood in this autobiography to show readers that you can not only survive but overcome trials and tribulations that befall you at a young age. The autobiography sub-genre offers people the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes and relive the experiences that shaped them. If you are a fact seeker, autobiographies will give you the most accurate account of a person’s life.

Within the sub-genre of autobiography, readers will find many narratives of famous people. If you are interested in pop culture and would like to learn more about how people rise to fame, this category is right up your alley. The book, “Walk to Beautiful” by musician Jimmy Wayne is one of the best non-fiction novels out there. He discusses the difficulties of being poor and the disorganization of the broken foster care system, based on his personal life experiences. A perfect combination of reality and fame come together in this category.

For a thriller-type read, the true crime sub-genre is where you’ll want to look for a book. This category is typically packed with mystery, violence, law and forensics — all based on actual events. The novels are usually embellished with creative writing here and there, but the main storyline is factual and true to the real events. In the book, “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann, you will find the retelling of the murders of several people in the wealthy community of Osage Nation in Oklahoma. You will find all the thrills in this non-fiction novel along with an accurate depiction of events around the murders. True crime non-fiction books are just the thing if you want to learn more about a specific historical crime.

There are countless other categories in the non-fiction novel genre. They have so much to offer from education to insight and instructions. Non-fiction educational options typically involve history books, science stories, psychology novels and literary novels. Whenever you want to travel, you will surely pick up a travel novel, and same with self-help. If you want to learn about sports, you’ll find facts stick with you when you read a non-fiction novel based on that sport. Technology, house and garden and social science are even more categories you’ll discover when you delve into non-fiction novels, and you won’t find a better way to learn and get inspired than through the books within this genre.

No matter what your walk of life is, non-fiction novels will give you the tools you need to constantly be improving yourself, increasing your knowledge and learning with a multi-faceted approach. Non-fiction novels of all categories should be a staple in every home.