Americans View Their Dust Bowl Experience

By John R. Wunder; Frances W. Kaye et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction

John R. Wunder

The Dust Bowl experience was a seminal event for at least two generations of Americans, whose lives it shaped or reshaped. The experience was felt especially by those directly involved in agriculture in portions of the Mississippi Valley—the farmers of Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Arkansas—and it deeply touched the farmers and ranchers of the American Great Plains—the agriculturalists of North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, Nebraska and Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma, and New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle. The 1930s in the heartland were difficult times.

This book is about those Americans of the Dust Bowl. The book seeks to foster an understanding of the physical and mental dimensions of the disaster. Through original documents of the times, it offers a glimpse into the human response to the Dust Bowl. The first section of the book includes contemporary accounts of the plight of farmers. Dust Bowl distress and anger, farmer strikes, and the farmers' march on Washington are captured in memoirs and news reports of the times. The human response to this environmental catastrophe is next observed in letters of self-doubt, attempts to find solutions in science, and reflections on religious faith.

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