The Dust Bowl, written by historian Donald Worster, is a true story about how North America’s Great Plains faced one of the worst man-made environmental disaster in world history. The book depicts the story of the Dust Bowl in ecological as well as human terms. Worster argues that there was in fact a close link between the Dust Bowl and the Depression, that the same society produced them both, and for similar reasons. Worster used plain residents and their experience of living in the plains during the Dust Bowl to give us a better incite on how capitalism mainly influenced the dust bowl.
This book focuses on the dust bowl and how capitalism was one of its many influences according to Worster. Capitalism is the central idea that an economic system in which trade, industry and the means of production are controlled by private owners with the goal of making profits in a market economy (Wikipedia). According to Worster this idea was based solely on three concepts: ...view middle of the document...
This was a problem, because like any other business there was a limit. There were only so many crops that could be planted into the soil. Due to the outstanding planting of crops the top layer of soil erodes. When the top layered erodes, everything is basically dust. The land is no longer worth harvesting. However, the government didn’t try to prevent the problem. They only gave the farmers money to try and assist them in any way possible. As expected this didn’t help the problem at all, it only made the problem worst.
Donald Worster, the author, received a Bachelor of Arts in 1963 and a Master of Arts in 1964 from the University of Kansas. He continued his education at Yale University, earning an M.Phil. in 1970 and a PhD. in 1971. Worster came to KU in 1989 to occupy the Hall Chair in American History, thus returning to his undergraduate institution and his home region. Throughout his career, Worster has written several historical works that utilize the idea of “nature”.
This book has both negative and positive aspects. The biggest negative aspect is that Worster constantly gave “simple meanings” of some of the topics he discussed in the book. Everyone doesn’t need things to be broken down especially if it is already a comprehensive subject. He introduced too many character throughout the book, some of which I considered to be very irrelevant. One good aspect include the pictures gave you some insight on what the dust bowl actually looked like and some of the affects after. The dust bowl is something that a lot of people never really studied or were interested in.. Worster took something that was so boring and made it into a very eye opening subject. People never look at the “bigger picture”. This sometimes take away from the potential the subject could have.
In conclusion, Worster does a good job of giving many reasons as to why the dust bowl was a man-made disaster instead of a natural disaster. He does a good job at telling us how the farming agriculture and capitalism played a major role in the dust bowl. I never would have imaged that dust bowl had so much more reasoning than it did. Worster gave a great argument and explanation on what he think caused the dust bowl and what others felt about the dust bowl as well.