Egan’s Dust Bowl history wins National Book Award


The Worst Hard Time book cover, Houghton Mifflin image

Timothy Egan wins awards for his reporting and writing on a regular basis these days, it appears. He was part of a 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter team who reported on racial attitudes in America for the New York Times. Last week his book on the Dust Bowl won the National Book Award for Nonfiction: The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Houghton-Mifflin).

This period is not well understood by Texas history students, according to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests of the past few years. Here’s a new book that should be incorporated into lesson plans for 7th grade Texas history courses, who will be coming into the Dust Bowl period sometime after the first of the year on most calendars.

Egan reads an excerpt of The Worst Hard Time for NPR here, and the site includes a link to the first chapter and other NPR stories on the Dust Bowl.

Other sources for lesson planning for this period should include Woody Guthrie’s biography Bound for Glory (book and movie), Steinbeck’s series on the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath (both book and movie), and Of Mice and Men (book and movie and more movies).

(New York Times book review of Egan’s book, here.)

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