Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s

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OUP USA, Sep 16, 2004 - History - 290 pages
2 Reviews
In the mid 1930s, North America's Great Plains faced one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in world history. Donald Worster's classic chronicle of the devastating years between 1929 and 1939 tells the story of the Dust Bowl in ecological as well as human terms. Now, twenty-five years after his book helped to define the new field of environmental history, Worster shares his more recent thoughts on the subject of the land and how humans interact with it. In a new afterword, he links the Dust Bowl to current political, economic and ecological issues--including the American livestock industry's exploitation of the Great Plains, and the on-going problem of desertification, which has now become a global phenomenon. He reflects on the state of the plains today and the threat of a new dustbowl. He outlines some solutions that have been proposed, such as "the Buffalo Commons," where deer, antelope, bison and elk would once more roam freely, and suggests that we may yet witness a Great Plains where native flora and fauna flourish while applied ecologists show farmers how to raise food on land modeled after the natural prairies that once existed.
 

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Yes. This is a very intersesting thing. This book is very good. I feel very sad for the people in the dust storms. It got this name because of the Black Sunday.

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Donald Worster looks at the Dust Bowl from the perspective of an environmental historian, but also from the perspective of a cultural geographer. Incredible work and very useful for me in work on my dissertation. This work is what got me started in the subject of Dust Bowl migration.

Contents

INTRODUCTION
3
A DARKLING PLAIN
9
The Black Blizzards Roll In
10
If It Rains
28
Okies and Exodusters
46
PRELUDE TO DUST
67
What Holds the Earth Together
68
Sodbusting
82
HASKELL COUNTY KANSAS
141
Unsettled Ground
142
The Wheat Farmer and the Welfare State
150
A Sense of Place
166
A NEW DEAL FOR THE LAND
183
Facing up to Limits
184
Learning from Nature
202
Make Two Blades of Grass Grow
214

CIMARRON COUNTY OKLAHOMA
101
Frontier in Ruins
102
When the Cattle Ate Tumbleweeds
110
Hard Times in the Panhandle
120
ON A THIN EDGE
235
AFTERWORD
248
NOTES
259
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About the author (2004)


Donald Worster is Hall Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of Kansas and the author of A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell.