In a tour de force of historical reportage, Timothy Egan’s National Book Award–winning story rescues an iconic chapter of American history from the shadows. The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Timothy Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones. Brilliantly capturing the terrifying drama of catastrophe, he does equal justice to the human characters who become his heroes, “the stoic, long-suffering men and women whose lives he opens up with urgency and respect” (New York Times). In an era that promises ever-greater natural disasters, The Worst Hard Time is “arguably the best nonfiction book yet” (Austin Statesman Journal) on the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land and a powerful reminder about the dangers of trifling with nature. This e-book includes a sample chapter of THE IMMORTAL IRISHMAN.
the worst hard time
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Presents an oral history of the dust storms that devastated the Great Plains during the Depression, following several families and their communities in their struggle to persevere despite the devastation.
From "the world's greatest tour guide," a deeply-researched, captivating journey through the rich history of Christianity and the winding paths of the French and Italian countryside that will feed mind, body, and soul (New York Times). "What a wondrous work! This beautifully written and totally clear-eyed account of his pilgrimage will have you wondering whether we should all embark on such a journey, either of the body, the soul or, as in Egan's case, both." --Cokie Roberts "Egan draws us in, making us feel frozen in the snow-covered Alps, joyful in valleys of trees with low-hanging fruit, skeptical of the relics of embalmed saints and hopeful for the healing of his encrusted toes, so worn and weathered from their walk."--The Washington Post Moved by his mother's death and his Irish Catholic family's complicated history with the church, Timothy Egan decided to follow in the footsteps of centuries of seekers to force a reckoning with his own beliefs. He embarked on a thousand-mile pilgrimage through the theological cradle of Christianity to explore the religion in the world that it created. Egan sets out along the Via Francigena, once the major medieval trail leading the devout to Rome, and travels overland via the alpine peaks and small mountain towns of France, Switzerland and Italy, accompanied by a quirky cast of fellow pilgrims and by some of the towering figures of the faith--Joan of Arc, Henry VIII, Martin Luther. The goal: walking to St. Peter's Square, in hopes of meeting the galvanizing pope who is struggling to hold together the church through the worst crisis in half a millennium. A thrilling journey, a family story, and a revealing history, A Pilgrimage to Eternity looks for our future in its search for God.
Retraces the 1853 journey of Theodore Winthrop through Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, offering a narrative of a land caught between conservations and development and its people
“A vivid exploration of one man's lifelong obsession with an idea . . . Egan’s spirited biography might just bring [Curtis] the recognition that eluded him in life.” — Washington Post Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous portrait photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. But when he was thirty-two years old, in 1900, he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared. Curtis spent the next three decades documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty North American tribes. It took tremendous perseverance — ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him to observe their Snake Dance ceremony. And the undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. Curtis would amass more than 40,000 photographs and 10,000 audio recordings, and he is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian. “A darn good yarn. Egan is a muscular storyteller and his book is a rollicking page-turner with a colorfully drawn hero.” — San Francisco Chronicle "A riveting biography of an American original." – Boston Globe
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year Winner of the Mountains and Plains Book Seller's Association Award "Sprawling in scope. . . . Mr. Egan uses the past powerfully to explain and give dimension to the present." --The New York Times "Fine reportage . . . honed and polished until it reads more like literature than journalism." --Los Angeles Times "They have tried to tame it, shave it, fence it, cut it, dam it, drain it, nuke it, poison it, pave it, and subdivide it," writes Timothy Egan of the West; still, "this region's hold on the American character has never seemed stronger." In this colorful and revealing journey through the eleven states west of the 100th meridian, Egan, a third-generation westerner, evokes a lovely and troubled country where land is religion and the holy war between preservers and possessors never ends. Egan leads us on an unconventional, freewheeling tour: from America's oldest continuously inhabited community, the Ancoma Pueblo in New Mexico, to the high kitsch of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where London Bridge has been painstakingly rebuilt stone by stone; from the fragile beauty of Idaho's Bitterroot Range to the gross excess of Las Vegas, a city built as though in defiance of its arid environment. In a unique blend of travel writing, historical reflection, and passionate polemic, Egan has produced a moving study of the West: how it became what it is, and where it is going. "The writing is simply wonderful. From the opening paragraph, Egan seduces the reader. . . . Entertaining, thought provoking." --The Arizona Daily Star Weekly "A western breeziness and love of open spaces shines through Lasso the Wind. . . . The writing is simple and evocative." --The Economist
National Book Award–winner Timothy Egan turns his historian's eye to the largest-ever forest fire in America and offers an epic, cautionary tale for our time. On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno that jumped from treetop to ridge as it raged, destroying towns and timber in the blink of an eye. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men to fight the fires, but no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them. Egan recreates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force, and the larger story of outsized president Teddy Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot, that follows is equally resonant. Pioneering the notion of conservation, Roosevelt and Pinchot did nothing less than create the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by every citizen. Even as TR's national forests were smoldering they were saved: The heroism shown by his rangers turned public opinion permanently in favor of the forests, though it changed the mission of the forest service in ways we can still witness today. This e-book includes a sample chapter of SHORT NIGHTS OF THE SHADOW CATCHER.
In May 1936 Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace wrote to Caroline Henderson to praise her contributions to American "understanding of some of our farm problems." His comments reflected the national attention aroused by Henderson’s articles, which had been published in Atlantic Monthly since 1931. Even today, Henderson’s articles are frequently cited for her vivid descriptions of the dust storms that ravaged the Plains. Caroline Henderson was a Mount Holyoke graduate who moved to Oklahoma’s panhandle to homestead and teach in 1907. This collection of Henderson’s letters and articles published from 1908 to1966 presents an intimate portrait of a woman’s life in the Great Plains. Her writing mirrors her love of the land and the literature that sustained her as she struggled for survival. Alvin O. Turner has collected and edited Henderson’s published materials together with her private correspondence. Accompanying biographical sketch, chapter introductions, and annotations provide details on Henderson’s life and context for her frequent literary allusions and comments on contemporary issues.
In this riveting chronicle (which accompanies the documentary broadcasted on PBS) Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns capture the profound drama of the American Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Terrifying photographs of mile-high dust storms, along with firsthand accounts by more than two dozen eyewitnesses, bring to life this heart-wrenching catastrophe, when a combination of drought, wind, and poor farming practices turned millions of acres of the Great Plains into a wasteland, killing crops and livestock, threatening the lives of small children, burying homesteaders' hopes under huge dunes of dirt. Burns and Duncan collected more than 300 mesmerizing photographs, some never before published, scoured private letters, government reports, and newspaper articles, and conducted in-depth interviews to produce a document that may likely be the last recorded testimony of the generation who lived through this defining decade.
"An old-fashioned tale of tall talk, high ideals,and irresistible appeal . . . You will not read a historical thriller like this all year . . . [Egan] is a master storyteller." —Boston Globe “Egan has a gift for sweeping narrative . . . and he has a journalist’s eye for the telltale detail . . . This is masterly work.” — New York Times Book Review In this exciting and illuminating work, National Book Award winner Timothy Egan delivers a story, both rollicking and haunting, of one of the most famous Irish Americans of all time. A dashing young orator during the Great Hunger of the 1840s, Thomas Francis Meagher led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony for life. But two years later he was “back from the dead” and in New York, instantly the most famous Irishman in America. Meagher’s rebirth included his leading the newly formed Irish Brigade in many of the fiercest battles of the Civil War. Afterward, he tried to build a new Ireland in the wild west of Montana—a quixotic adventure that ended in the great mystery of his disappearance, which Egan resolves convincingly at last. “This is marvelous stuff. Thomas F. Meagher strides onto Egan's beautifully wrought pages just as he lived—powerfully larger than life. A fascinating account of an extraordinary life.” — Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat “Thomas Meagher’s is an irresistible story, irresistibly retold by the virtuosic Timothy Egan . . . A gripping, novelistic page-turner.” — Wall Street Journal