Jim reports he is reading The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. He says it's very interesting - the history of the "Dust Bowl".
From the publisher's website:
The devastation caused this year by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita serves as a grim reminder of the destructive power of nature and the long-term effects of a single storm. In The Worst Hard Time, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Timothy Egan brilliantly captures the untold story of the Dust Bowl, the decade of brutally punishing dust storms that ravaged the American High Plains during the Depression and became the "worst weather event" in American history, through the eyes of those who survived it.
Once one of the greatest grasslands in the world, the High Plains of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico went through a bonanza of overfarming in the 1920s. When the rains stopped and the wind picked up in the early 1930s, the stripped earth began to stir and blow to devastating effect, sending millions of tons of dust across much of the nation. In the High Plains, the power of these blinding black blizzards of dust was such that it was often impossible to "see your hand in front of your face," according to one survivor.
At its peak, the Dust Bowl covered close to one hundred million acres, and more than a quarter of a million Americans were forced to flee their ruined homes.
The Worst Hard Time captures the full drama, heroism, and terror of this unwritten chapter of the Greatest Generation, a time when the simplest thing in life — taking a breath — was a threat. The book is a testament to the power of human perseverance in the face of the most wretched of conditions, as well as a reminder that the environmental catastrophe of the Dust Bowl may be only a preview of what is in store for us in our ever-warming future.