American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1991 - History - 338 pages
6 Reviews
Fifty years ago, John Steinbeck's now classic novel, The Grapes of Wrath, captured the epic story of an Oklahoma farm family driven west to California by dust storms, drought, and economic hardship. It was a story that generations of Americans have also come to know through Dorothea Lange's unforgettable photos of migrant families struggling to make a living in Depression-torn California. Now in James N. Gregory's pathbreaking American Exodus, there is at last an historical study that moves beyond the fiction and the photographs to uncover the full meaning of these events.
American Exodus takes us back to the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and the war boom influx of the 1940s to explore the experiences of the more than one million Oklahomans, Arkansans, Texans, and Missourians who sought opportunities in California. Gregory reaches into the migrants' lives to reveal not only their economic trials but also their impact on California's culture and society. He traces the development of an "Okie subculture" that over the years has grown into an essential element in California's cultural landscape.
The consequences, however, reach far beyond California. The Dust Bowl migration was part of a larger heartland diaspora that has sent millions of Southerners and rural Midwesterners to the nation's northern and western industrial perimeter. American Exodus is the first book to examine the cultural implications of that massive 20th-century population shift. In this rich account of the experiences and impact of these migrant heartlanders, Gregory fills an important gap in recent American social history.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
1
4 stars
1
3 stars
1
2 stars
2
1 star
1

American exodus: the Dust Bowl migration and & Okie culture in California

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

A thorough study of the migration of Oklahomans, Arkansans, Texans, and Missourians to California in the years of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Gregory dispels the popular Okie image built ... Read full review

Review: American Exodus the Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California

User Review  - Sam Reaves - Goodreads

The Dust Bowl-era migration of the Okies from the Southwest to California became instant folklore with The Grapes of Wrath and Dorothea Lange's photographs. This is the real story, a look beyond the ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Out of the Heartland
3
The Limits of Opportunity
36
The Okie Problem
78
The Dilemma of Outsiders
114
THE OKIE SUBCULTURE
137
PlainFolk Americanism
139
Up from the Dust
172
Special to God
191
The Language of a Subculture
222
Appendix
249
Abbreviations
255
Notes
257
Index
327
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1991)


James N. Gregory is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bibliographic information