The Worst Hard Time Essay

1891 Words Mar 28th, 2011 8 Pages
One theory in Jared Diamond s Collapse is that soil degradation and erosion leads to insufficient agriculture and a society s demise. In Timothy Egan s The Worst Hard Time, he sets forth in specific and excruciating detail exactly what Diamond outlines in Collapse. Only Egan s book isn t theoretical. It isn t a survey of what s happened in other countries. It s about the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. It s about what happens, right here in the heart of America, when the land is misused, mistreated, and turns on those who depend on it.
Centered in the panhandle of Oklahoma and extending south into the panhandle of Texas, north into half of Kansas and a quadrant of Colorado, the Dust Bowl despoiled 100 million acres. For thousands of years this
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Then the rain stopped for eight years, drought returned, and the Dirty Thirties began in earnest a third of all farmers on the plains facing foreclosure.
To avoid losing their farms, farmers in Iowa attempted to lynch a judge, and the National Guard was called out. In Arkansas and Oklahoma, families who could not feed their children rioted while wheat rotted, unsold, and the government under President Hoover refused to intervene in the dynamics of the market s demand and supply by buying the surplus to redistribute it to the poor. Some politicians worried a revolution might occur within the year.
Soon it became too dry to plant, too dry for anything to grow, and wind began to move the dirt. At 40 miles per hour, dust storms formed. In January 1932, with the wind blowing 60 miles per hour all day, a dust cloud ten thousand feet high rolled toward Amarillo.
It was thick like coarse animal hair; it was alive. People close to it described a feeling of being in a blizzard a black blizzard, they called it with an edge like steel wool. With dry weather came grasshoppers, consuming any remaining crops. Rabbits proliferated so much that locals held rabbit-killing drives to club thousands to death at one time. In 1933, there were 70 dust storms. In 1934, a dust storm grew so big it hit the jet stream, dumped six thousand tons on Chicago, fell like snow over Boston, and turned day into night in New York. The storm grew to 1,800 miles wide, carrying 350

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