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Dust to Eat: Drought and Depression in the 1930s Hardcover – April 19, 2004


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1120L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; First Edition edition (April 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618154493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618154494
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–Despite its descriptions of dust and drought, this book is anything but dry. While it includes background information on the Great Depression and the Roosevelt administration's response, the text's strength is the very human face it puts on the overwhelming tragedy of the Dust Bowl years. The flowing narrative draws deeply from letters by and interviews with those who lived through this disastrous period, as well as from the work of John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie. Cooper focuses on the physical struggle to survive, describing the harsh conditions in migrant camps, especially for the children who worked alongside their parents in the fields and often died of disease and malnutrition. The author follows the exodus from the Great Plains to California along Route 66, lacing the narrative with poems and song lyrics from the era. Of particular interest is his discussion of the grassroots effort on the part of native Californians to force the migrants to return to their home states. Archival black-and-white photographs, many taken by Dorothea Lange, grace most pages and illustrate the desperation and despair of the "Okies." Well-documented source notes are provided for each chapter. A good companion work is Jerry Stanley's poignant Children of the Dust Bowl (Random, 1992).–Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. With lots of stunning black-and-white archival photos and a clear, spacious text that draws on eloquent eyewitness reports--including comments from John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie--this small, handsome photo-essay tells the history of the Dust Bowl and the drought that drove desperate families to California in search of work. There are already lots of books on the Depression for older readers, some of which Cooper discusses in his chatty chapter source notes at the back, but this one brings the history close to middle graders. The numerous photos are unforgettable. Many are by Dorothea Lange, who shows the despair of destitute migrant families on the road. Just as dramatic are the facts about the dust storms (on one day about 350 million tons of dirt blew 2,000 miles eastward) and about the refugees who fled, "burned out, blown out, and starved out." With the exception of a few spelling errors in the bibliography, which are scheduled for correction in the second printing, this is an excellent historical account. Give it to older readers as well. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Michael L. Cooper is a writer living in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information about him and his books visit michaellcooper.com. Thanks. MLC

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Overall this book was enlightening and very well written.
N. Brock
Highly recommended, especially for young people who are used to having it all right now.
J. Kincade
Excellent book for synopsis of cause and effect of Dust Bowl.
Donald Goman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By E. Gibson on February 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After hearing author on NPR, ordered Mr. Cooper's book and found it to be a concise and poignant account. I recommend it highly. Not a pleasant "read," but the book helped me gain new appreciation for the grit (no pun intended) of those who lived through one of the most-challenging periods of American history. Left me feeling thankful my grandparents resided outside the most affected Dust Bowl areas.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Kincade on June 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very well written, gritty little slice of American history. If you even wondered why people like me don't like the term "Okie", this book will explain it. If you can read this book and not feel deeply for those folks who went through the Dust Bowl of the early 30's, you have a granite heart. Highly recommended, especially for young people who are used to having it all right now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sioux City Sue on August 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I had family who went through the Dust Bowl out in the Oklahoma Panhandle and Southwest Kansas, so I've always been interested in anything to do with the "Dirty Thirties." The same friend who recommended Timothy Egan's THE WORST HARD TIME (non-fiction) and Robert Boyd Delano's awesome THE HAPPY IMMORTALS (fiction), told me about Michael Cooper's DUST TO EAT. All are rooted in the "Dusters."

Kudos to each of these powerful authors who have brought the people of the Dust Bowl alive!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sylviastel VINE VOICE on May 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book has plenty of black and white pictures with chapters about the information regarding the Dust Bowl era, the California migration, the Great Depression, and about life during this difficult time with the Dust Bowl period.

The Dust Bowl came about when billions of tons of loose soil blew across the Southern Plains in the United States. The Dust Bowl or Black Blizzard storms were disastrous not only to ecology but to the survivors, residents, and people in the Southern Plains. Many suffered and died from Dust Bowl Pneumonia.

The book is well-designed with a good layout for young readers or those who don't know much about the Dust Bowl. This book is a good, solid introduction.
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By CAROL C on February 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought this book so our Grandchildren would realize what their Grandfather's work was about and how the area use to be.
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