Dust Bowl Book Analysis

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Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s, written by Donald Worster was first published in 1979 and more recently republished for its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2004. Worster is a professor at Kansas University, having earned his bachelors at Kansas University and his Ph.D. from Yale. Worster’s work largely focuses on environmental history and he has written several books on this topic. Worster’s novels have received numerous awards with Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s having received the Bancroft Prize. In Dust Bowl, Worster concentrates on the dust storms that afflicted the Great Plains in North America throughout the 1930s. Commonly the blame for the Dust Bowl is placed on the farmers and their methods. However, according …show more content…
Prior to the nineteenth century, every group of humans that reached the plains left less of an ecological impact than the animals living there. Following the first known people to arrive on the plains, there is little evidence of human activity. An analysis of tree rings revealed that cycles of drought have long defined the area. Drought conditions meant it was difficult for plants to grow there, leaving the plains dominated by grasses, that hold the dirt in place. Furthermore, at around A.D. 500, a group of Native Americans lived on the plains but were forced to leave the area because of drought and blowing dust. This trend continued with other settlements developing when conditions were favorable but then leaving when droughts arrived. Eventually, Native Americans were able to thrive in the plains by relying on Buffalo for food rather than farming. Yet, these Native Americans still did not severely affect the ecology of the …show more content…
President Franklin Roosevelt tried to provide aid to the Dust Bowl region through several New Deal programs. The Department of Agriculture was largely made up of personnel committed to increasing crop production through newly developed means, but there were those within the department who sought to change this outlook. Reformers of the department wanted to focus on conservation planning, but they were never able to gain continuous substantial influence. In addition, ecologists failed to make an impact on the minds of plainsmen. More successful were the agronomists, who offered new techniques to salvage the land. However, the techniques implemented by agronomists did not have a lasting impact on the area because technique alone was not capable of addressing the culture that had led to the Dust

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