Nov./Dec. 2017 - The Worst Hard Time

11/15/17 #AgBookClub Recap

Miss the last #AgBookClub chat? No worries, we’ve compiled a summary of the chat to prepare you for next week!

This week, we continued with our November/December selection, The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan. The assigned pages, 52 – 88, exposed us to the realities of farming in the Great Plains – what attracted people to this region, how unpredictable and harsh the weather was, even during “good” years, and how farmers lived during this time. Immigrants were an important part of settling this area. But the good times were soon followed by the stock market crash of 1929, which people said couldn’t possibly affect farming…until corn and wheat prices plummeted. Grain prices were low, but stock was so high that it was often turned away at the elevator and farmers didn’t get anything for it. Farmers could barely scrape by, even with record yields. The answer? Plow up more grass and plant more wheat.

Below are several responses that we thought summed up the Week 2 chat well, covered themes, or contained thought-provoking questions or comments.

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments section of this post or on Twitter (clicking the date at the bottom of each tweet will take you directly to that tweet on Twitter’s website). You can see the full conversation by searching “#AgBookClub” on Twitter.

Q1: What do you think of the book so far? Like it? Dislike it? Any thoughts you’d like to share?


Q2: Who’s your favorite character so far?


Q3: A good chunk of this section talked about the Germans from Russia. How did they influence farming and culture in the Great Plains?


Q4: We know that American culture in the 19th and 20th century was greatly influenced by immigration. Where were your ancestors from before coming to America? When? What types of jobs did they find when they arrived?


Q5: Dee and C.C. Lewis were referred to as “next year people”. Would you consider today’s farmers to be an optimistic bunch?


Q6: “But even by the 1920s, there was still a chance for a family to make history [by staking a claim on the High Plains]. ‘Every man a landlord’ meant something.” (p 56). Does that still hold true today?


Q7: the end of this section talked about the stock market crash of 1929 and the impact over the next two years. With this mindset, if you won a million dollars in the lottery today, what would you do with it? Stocks? Land? Other?


We’re going to take a week off in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, so no chat on 11/22. Join us on November 29th as we continue to read The Worst Hard Time. Week 3’s assignment is pages 89 – 142. See the full schedule here.

The #AgBookClub Twitter chat takes place Wednesdays at 8pm CST.

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