Summary

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 210

Worster's historical masterpiece analyzes the causes, effects, and long-term impact of the 1930s Dust Bowl upon America in terms of farming, planning, industry, migration, and culture, as well as the national economy. Worster does not provide just a broad overview of the Dust Bowl, but he also supplies great historical detail through primary and secondary resources.

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In his arguments about why the Dust Bowl was so devastating, Worster asserts that both the national demand for increased productivity and permitted land exploitation were the greatest contributors. He claims that farmers, industries, and federal agencies shared the blame in implementing overly aggressive measures to yield great crops.

Worster also contends that there were too many years of exhaustive soil use with not enough time for replenishment and preservation. Then, when years of drought and wind occurred, the Great Plains could not recover nor subsist. The devastating losses that farmers endured caused mass migration from the Midwest, widespread poverty, economic depression, and death.

Dust Bowl clearly calls for comprehensive improvement in human-environmental interaction and responsibility, as Worster believes both the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression were results of economic and ecological mismanagement. He offers a clear critique of capitalistic practices and the laissez-faire approach of many Americans during the 1920s and 1930s.

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Analysis