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Timothy Egan paints an arresting picture of the desperate times on the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Underlying the human tragedies are the environmental depredations brought on by greed and the "bubble" in the commodities markets for wheat during the years during and after World War I (through the boom times of the 1920s). The sod on the short-grass prairies was methodically plowed and stripped, and the region was planted as a monoculture of this annual crop--with nothing to hold the soil when the drought and winds came.
Clear parallels can be readily seen with the recent "housing bubble" with its subprime mortgages and "derivatives" and the near-collapse of the world's monetary system in 2008.
When I began reading this book, I was unsure if the subject matter would hold my attention. Yet within the first 20 pages of the book, I was hooked. Timothy Egan is a master weaver of multiple storylines intertwined with facts and information to produce a hard-to-put-down work of historial significance. His is a cautionary tale and one that resonates loud and clear today.
How upright people looking to better themselves descended into hell at the urging of the government and real estate speculators. Illustrates how the absence of today's basic knowledge about agriculture drove those same people to consume the resources that would answer their dreams - the soil itself. Couldn't put this book down.
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