Documents of the Dust Bowl
by R. Douglas Hurt
April 2019, 240pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5497-2
$94, £70, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5498-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The Dust Bowl was one of the worst ecological disasters in American history.

This book provides a unique, thorough, and indispensable resource for anyone investigating the causes and consequences of the Dust Bowl.

During the 1930s, drought and the cultivation of submarginal lands created a severe wind-erosion problem in the southern Great Plains, a region that became known as the Dust Bowl. During the worst dust storms, the blowing soil often turned day into night. Some people died when caught outside during a black blizzard, others developed “dust pneumonia,” and some residents moved to California. Most people, however, remained. Those who stayed and endured the storms had an abiding faith that federal resources and the return of normal rainfall would end the dust storms and return life to normal, free from the desperation and fear caused by the blowing soil.
Documents of the Dust Bowl offers a fascinating documentary history of one of the worst ecological disasters in American history. It will enable high school students and academics alike to study the manner in which Dust Bowl residents confronted and endured the dust storms in the southern Great Plains during the 1930s.


  • Provides readers easy access to important public documents located in the National Archives that discuss the causes and consequences of the Dust Bowl
  • Discusses major soil conservation programs and techniques to protect and restore the grass and wheat lands
  • Indicates the importance of government planning and financial support in American agriculture
  • Explains why farmers in the southern Great Plains farm with terraces, contour plowing, strip cropping, and rough tillage practices for planting wheat, grain sorghum, and grass
  • Traces the origin and development of the National Grasslands
  • Includes the reasons for planting the shelterbelts, which can still be seen in the region today
R. Douglas Hurt, PhD, is professor of history at Purdue University. He is the author of Praeger's Food and Agriculture during the Civil War as well as many publications on the Dust Bowl and books on agricultural history. He is a past president and current Fellow of the Agricultural History Society, and he has served as the editor of Agricultural History, the international journal of record for the field. The Agricultural History Society presented him with the Gladys L. Baker Award for Lifetime Achievement.


"Documents of the Dust Bowl is a good resource for those seeking to understand more about the Dust Bowl and is a way for readers to gain convenient access to a large selection of primary sources, presented by a historian who has ably studied the subject for much of his career."—Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains, February 1, 2021

"Libraries with patrons interested in American history (and possibly weather and farming) should consider this volume."—ARBA, August 1, 2019

Eyewitness to History

ABC-CLIO’s Eyewitness to History series provides primary documents accompanied by invaluable contextualizing information to help readers understand historical developments, events, and individuals. The books’ format allows for a remarkable range of documents that showcase a wide variety of perspectives, including personal narratives, letters, and first-hand accounts; newspaper stories, op-ed pieces, and contemporary reactions and responses; and government and legislative documents, such as laws, speeches, and court testimony.

Each title in the series offers a fascinating documentary history devoted to a significant era, event, or social movement. The carefully curated primary sources give the actual words of people who lived through these past times, empowering today’s readers and researchers to consider the topic critically, fairly, and intelligently.
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