I brought this book along on my recent trip to California. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. It was passed on to me by my younger sister, who said it "changed her life". Naturally, I was intrigued. It is the true and amazing story of the people who survived the dust bowl. Here is an excerpt:
"One of nine kids, Ike Osteen grew up in a dugout. A dugout is just that, a home dug into the hide of the prairie. The floor was dirt...Every spring Ike's mother poured boiling water over the walls to kill the fresh hatched bugs. The family heated the dugout with cow chips, which burned in an old stove and left a turd smell slow to dissipate. The toilet was outside, a hole in the ground."
Yeah...it's shocking. It is really hard to understand why in the world they stayed there - so you'll have to read to find out! The first part is a little slow, as it is giving a lot of history, but hang in there - it gets better. Enjoy and be inspired, especially by the women who had to clean those dust-infiltrated homes.