Dust Bowl history by NYT reporter wins National Book Award for nonfiction

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... “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl” by Timothy Egan was the surprise winner of the top prize for nonfiction.

In the book, Mr. Egan, a former New York Times reporter who remains a frequent contributor to the newspaper, gives an account of the dust storms that descended on the Great Plains during the Depression.

“Abraham Lincoln said we cannot escape history, but this history of the Dust Bowl nearly escaped us,” Mr. Egan, a third-generation Westerner, told a crowd of more than 700 publishers, writers and editors.....

Joining Mr. Egan as finalists for nonfiction were Taylor Branch for “At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68” (Simon & Schuster); Rajiv Chandrasekaran for “Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone” (Alfred A. Knopf); Peter Hessler for “Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present” (HarperCollins); and Lawrence Wright for “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11” (Alfred A. Knopf). Mr. Egan’s publisher was Houghton Mifflin.

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