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The Dust Bowl by Tricia Andryszewski
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This book shed light upon the disastrous series of dust storms which plagued the Great Plains region of the United States during the 1930s. It described the storms themselves and how the dust would get everywhere and that the storms would obscure the sunlight. The author also described the ecological situation in the region which led to the dust storms, namely the decline of the prairie grasses which held the soil in place due to a prolonged drought. It also described the extent to which Human activity contributed to the dust storms. This was where the book lost points with me. Its premise that Humans had a significant impact upon the Great Plains that was largely causative to the Dust Bowl is sound. What is not sound is its assertion that Human action imposing its will upon the Great Plains began with European contact. Rather than the myth of the "Noble Savage" living in symbiotic harmony with nature. Every piece of scholarship on Pre-Columbian peoples indicated that the various tribes had a dynamic effect upon their environment which they actively interacted with and controlled. To state that American Indians lacked the agency to affect their environment before the arrival of Europeans is, frankly, rather offensive. The author then tied the Dust Bowl into the larger context of the Great Depression, which also was greatly afflicting Americans at this time. As a result, some farmers would leave their land to travel to California in the hopes of finding work. The book concluded by describing the steps that the Federal Government took to rectify the situation as well as to pose the question as to whether this could happen again.
The book was not terrible, save for the aforementioned issue with American Indians. I would advise this book for Middle and High School students so long as they had access to more nuanced source materials. ( )
  CharlesHollis | May 4, 2015 |
This is a great book to learn about what life was like in the early 1900's on the Great Plains. Not knowing much about life before I was born found this very insightful about the struggles the people in the plains faced for many years. This book would be great for research about American history reports. ( )
  KatherineLo | Jun 13, 2012 |
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Examines the human and natural causes of the severe dust storms that turned much of the Great Plains into a "dust bowl" in the 1930s and describes the devastation caused by these storms.

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