Nov./Dec. 2017 - The Worst Hard Time

11/29/17 #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, 89 – 142, brought us to life after the stock market crash of 1929. By 1932, the Great Plains was in the midst of a drought and farmers were beginning to lose hope in good times ever returning. Grain was still priced at all-time lows, if they were even able to grow and harvest a crop without rain. Crops and livestock were suffering as a result of the “dusters” (dust storms) that were suddenly the norm across the Great Plains. A large part of the nation’s workforce was out of work by this time, begging for the government to help provide jobs so that they could feed their families. This brought up an interesting discussion during the weekly chat – how did life during the Depression differ for those in rural and urban areas? People in cities had a significantly harder time finding food for their families, but those in farm country were able to keep themselves fed with their gardens, hunting, and crop they couldn’t sell. Rural dwellers could also use those food items to barter for other goods and services they needed, helping them scrape by in a stagnant economy. But no matter how difficult things were during this time, “normal” life continued.

Below are several responses that we thought summed up the Week 3 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: Share time! What’s been your favorite or least favorite part of this section? Catch anything interesting that hit home?

 

Q2: History quiz – What can you identify that is still in existence from FDR’s first 100 days in office? Bonus points if it’s ag-related!

 

Q3: How did the Great Depression highlight the importance of local business in far-flung rural communities?

 

Q4: Dalhart newspaper reporter John McCarty decided at the beginning of the Great Depression to stop focusing on the negative and write more about good news. Was he on to something?

 

Q5: Revisiting last month’s book, $2.00 A Day – How would being poor during the Great Depression be different than being poor today?

 

Q6: Hazel Lucas Shaw told her husband she was pregnant at the end of the section. What do you think it would have been like to conduct “normal” life in the midst of what seemed like the world falling apart?

 

We’ll be continuing this book into December, so join us at 8pm Wednesday, December 6th as we discuss Week 4’s reading assignment of The Worst Hard Time. We’ll be discussing pages 143 – 192. See the full schedule here.

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


Christmas is coming soon! Need some help with ideas for your wish list or gifts for book lovers in your life? Check out what’s coming up on #AgBookClub in early 2018. Buy them the book (or books!) and encourage them to participate in the weekly discussion – it’s the gift that keeps on giving! 🙂

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