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Egan Shares Dust Bowl Memories With 'Worst Hard Time'

Nov 19, 2013

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl - by Timothy Egan
Credit Mariner Books

California's Central Valley will be forever linked in history with the story of the Dust Bowl. Cities like Bakersfield and Fresno were the final destination for many who fled Oklahoma and nearby states during the 1930's - an era of dust storms, drought and the Great Depression. But what about those who stayed behind? And did John Steinbeck get the story right in his novel "The Grapes of Wrath?"

Journalist Timothy Egan sought to tell the real stories of those who lived through the Dust Bowl with his book "The Worst Hard Time," which won the 2006 American Book Award.  He was also featured in the 2012 Ken Burns film "The Dust Bowl." Egan will speak in Fresno on Wednesday morning, as part of the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Lecture Series. He spoke with us on Valley Edition about the legacy of the Dust Bowl, some popular misconceptions about that era, and the lessons we can learn today. He says Steinbeck's fictional tale of the Joad family is only part of the story.