From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 5–9—Marrin begins with an overview of the natural history of the Great Plains, describing its unique geography and delicate ecological balance. Next, he discusses how the American ranchers and farmers who migrated into the region "invited disaster" by "changing the ecology" of the area, destroying native plants and animals and using farming techniques that left the soil vulnerable to the heat and droughts of the 1930s. The Dust Bowl and the human suffering it caused are put into the larger context of the Great Depression. New Deal efforts to change farming practices and the implementation of conservation measures are also explained. The book closes with a warning about the worldwide dangers of overuse of land and expanding desertification. Numerous sidebars provide more information about topics mentioned in the main text. The author writes with his usual clarity and flair and uses excerpts from primary-source accounts and literature to give voice to the people who explored and settled the plains as well as those who suffered through this environmental disaster. The narrative is supplemented with several maps and large, riveting reproductions of period photos and illustrations. This title covers much of the same ground as Diane Yancey's Life During the Dust Bowl
(Gale, 2004), but Marrin's outstanding writing and the high-quality illustrations make this cautionary tale a worthy addition.—Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO
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"...a reader-friendly, insightful work of history." --Kirkus
, starred review