Absolutely Wonderful! This book is so fascinating and remarkable! I thought it extremely educational and interesting at the same time. I would read it again and I am not one to read books more than once! Bravo Dickens!
I love all of Dickens's novels, and while this falls a bit short when compared to Great Expectations or David Copperfield, it is well worth reading. Character development leaves a bit to be desired in that, in order to explore his ideas about human development and politics, some of his characters are a bit caricaturish. Nonetheless, this is a great book.
Thank you to the nimrod who, in a very self-aggrandizing sort of way, just gave away the entire PLOT to Hard Times. First of all, I've already read the book so your forsoothly monologue didn't tell me anything I didn't already know (and I have written a few papers on the book) and second of all, who's actually going to want to go out and buy the book now? THINK next time before you post! Okay? If people want the Cliffs Notes version, they can purchase it at Barnes & Noble!
I highly recommend this book as I would all Dickens books. The true intention of the book is there in all the amazing characters that Dickens invents and the predicaments that are their's due to life circumstances and their own actions. Dickens always comes up with appropriate names for some of his characters as in McChoakamchild as a teachers name. I found that to be very amusing and too true in some instances of my own life. As for the accents and so called run on sentences well, practice the accents outloud till you get them. Any education, and that's what I consider reading books of another time period as, is worth the practice and little bit of work to obtain such enjoyment.
I read this for a college class years ago. Thought I remembered liking it - not sure why now. Although I am a Dickens' fan, this book moves all over the place and doesn't follow through on its original premise of an education consisting only of facts/
The back of the book says that Thomas Gradgrind is one of Dicken's most vivid characters. I'd have to disagree and wouldn't even call him the most vivid character of the book. It was a little slow at times but picks up at the end.
Beyond a doubt, this was the best of the books I read during this past year. Having had many family members who were caught up in this, one of the worst natural (actually it seems it was more man made than natural) disasters to strike our country, made this work of even more interest to me. Mr. Eagan has not only given us a wonderful account of this era in our nations history, he has made it come alive through his exceptional story telling abilities. This is not a dry (no pun intended), academic history of the great depression. Rather it is a history of a group of people who lived through the worst of it, the great dust bowl at the center of our country. These are real people and the author treats them as such. Very few meaningless statistics mar the story line, few government reports are offered or cited to reduce the human suffering to neatly typed pieces of paper. As you read this book, you come to realize that these people are just like you and me. You read and ponder "what if?" The book is quite readable, quite informative and one that I will no doubt give a reread to in the near future. Recommend this one highly!
2005 has been a banner year for readable histories about natural disasters (see "A Crack in the World : America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906" by Simon Winchester) and natural disasters compounded by a series of catastrophic human errors (see "Curse of the Narrows : The Halifax Disaster of 1917" by Laura MacDonald). Mr Egan's history falls into the latter category with his story of the Dust Bowl during the Depression.
"The Worst Hard Time" traces the horrific consequences of poor farming practices in the Central Plain States during the drought of the 1930's. It is not a dry book about soil samples and weather charts but a living account of the human cost in fighting against tarantulas & seas of grasshoppers eating every plant in their path while struggling against the "duster" storms that blot out the sun. The reader can think of the Dust Bowl storms as the hurricanes of the Plain States. Illustrated with photographs of the poverty of that era, the reader will be shock and angry at the suffering of those farmers who attempted to ride out those storms.
Absolutely totally bleak. Depressing. Tragic. American experiences in the horrific Dust Bowl of the 1930's as related in "Worst Hard Times" was all of this and more. Yet in the hands of author Timothy Egan the story is compelling and an absolute must read for anyone interested in the Thirties, the Depression or, of course, the Dust Bowl.
The statistics are here as are thorough accounts of the incredible dust storms that devastated a land an its people. Egan puts names to many of those who survived and faces to the names. Here is the success of "The Worst Hard Times," putting the devastating impact of the ecological disaster in human terms.
Meets those who were there. Some still alive today to tell the tale. A tale of abject poverty caused or agitated by Mother Nature reminding us who the mortals are and what fools they often be. For part of the problem was man-made as newcomers to the lands farmed soil that was ideal for ranching, with devastating results. With drought, heat waves and wind the loose soil was soon part of mighty clouds dumping dust everywhere. Into homes, eyes and food and on a couple of occasions to eastern cities including the nation's capital and beyond.
I've read many stories of survival from shipwrecks to Arctic journeys to long marches to epic battles -- "Worst Hard Times" measures up to them all. The human capacity to endure can never be under estimated and it is never better told than in this book.
The heroes are those who persisted against all odds and a Federal Government under Franklin Roosevelt that did not hesitate to help.
There are eccentric interesting characters aplenty and individual stories to tug at the heart strings and to inspire. The landscape may have been bleak but the human spirit was rich and exciting.