Popular Dust Bowl Books
Stories from the Dust Bowl (2005)
American Exodus the Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California / Edition 1
When The Grapes of Wrath came out 77 years ago, it was an instant hit. The story of a destitute family fleeing the Dust Bowl sold , copies in a year and catapulted John Steinbeck to literary greatness. But it also stopped the publication of another novel, silencing the voice of an author more intimately connected to the plight of Oklahoma migrants because she was one herself. In many ways, the books are complementary takes on the same subject: one book is spare and detailed, the other is big and ambitious. One spends more time in Oklahoma, the other spends more time in California. One focuses on individual characters, the other attempts to tell a broader story about America. Liking one novel over the other is a matter of taste; Sanora Babb, as is natural, preferred her own work.
A man in rumpled clothes walks down a dirt highway. Ahead of him the ground and sky blur together in a bright haze. He has a bedroll slung on one shoulder and stoops a little from the weight. His boots are covered in dust. Turn the page: the man disappears. Overhead, a black cloud blots out the sky. When a severe drought struck the Midwest in , farmers had been churning up the Great Plains for more than half a century.
Teaching about the Dust Bowl certainly doesn't have the same high-spirited allure as teaching about the Oregon Trail or the Gold Rush, but it is an important period in American history for children to learn about nonetheless. Over the last several decades, scientists have gained a better understanding about the dust bowl and what caused it. In short, over-grazing, over-farming, and general over-use of the land greatly exacerbated a climatological drought cycle in the s, making living and growing conditions virtually impossible. As our society becomes more aware of our ecological impacts on the earth, learning about the dust bowl and the great devastation and dislocation it caused becomes more important than ever. The books below help teach this tragic but important part of American history.
Books shelved as dust-bowl: The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those The Journal of C. J. Jackson, a Dust Bowl Migrant, Oklahoma to California, .
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Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date. For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now., Originally published in , this pioneering work of history tells the story of Dust Bowl refugees—more than a million people from the Oklahoma region whose cultural and social existence was upended and relocated to California during the Great Depression. Based on in-depth research, census data, and oral histories some of which were conducted over the phone this book masterfully chronicles the experiences of people from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Missouri who moved to California in the s and s.
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James N. Gregory has published two books and several articles four on-line below about the Dust Bowl Migration and other American migrations. Joe W. Trotter Jr. Kusmer Chicago: University of Chicago Press, For almost seventy years the story of white families from Oklahoma and neighboring states making their way to California in the midst of the Great Depression has been kept alive by journalists and filmmakers, college teachers and museum curators, songwriters and novelists, and of course historians. Although it was but one episode out of many struggles with poverty during the s, the Dust Bowl migration became something of synecdoche, the single most common image that later generations would use to memorialize the hardships of that decade.