You Must Watch
The Dust Bowl

Dateline: 6 August 2013
"It was a decade-long natural catastrophe of biblical proportions."
I rarely read fictional books and I rarely watch fictional movies. I'm more interested in books or movies that will teach, edify, or inspire me. So, when it comes to movies, I'm inclined to watch documentaries, and that's how I happened to come to watch the The Dust Bowl, by Ken Burns. 

The Dust Bowl is a 4-hour PBS documentary that came out last year (since I don't watch television, I find out about these things kind of late). I suspect a lot of you reading this have already seen the movie. But if you haven't seen it yet, you need to. This is a five-star, top-ten, must-see movie for agrarian-minded people.

The Dust Bowl is a true American story about agricultural folly, actions and consequences, days of reckoning (that always come in their time), and human suffering like no one reading this has ever experienced. The dust bowl, centered in the panhandle of Oklahoma, truly was an epic event, and Ken Burns has done a great job telling both the historical and the human side. 

You can watch The Dust Bowl on Netflix, or download it on iTunes. I think you can also watch it on YouTube. Click Here to go to the PBS web page for the movie. To get an idea of what the movie is like, watch this promotional clip from YouTube....


Anonymous said...

Yeah - we watched most of it. I wasn't overly impressed due to the underlying theme of climate change hysteria. I can't begrudge the farmers of that era. They were simply following the county agent's recommendations and is often the case, academia got it wrong.
Burn's is no genius. Except for Shelby Foote, IMO The Civil War was a bit overrated. It must be grand to have unlimited PBS funds to slant history based on one's biases not facts. Even Baseball was full of revisionist baloney. Oh well -
Best Regards,

Herrick Kimball said...


I appreciate your opinion. I'm going to have to watch it again because I totally missed any association with the current hysteria over climate change.

What I did see, near the end, and clearly stated, is a concern about the large aquifer in the Plains states being drawn down by modern farming methods. I've been hearing that for awhile. And the idea was presented that grass farming the plains is a more intelligent and sustainable use of the land in that area. I tend to think that grass farming on natural grasslands is a good idea, so I had no problem with that part of the movie.

Cynthia (C.L) Lewis said...

My children just finished studying the dust bowl. I believe they watched a History channel documentary... Black Blizzard. I've tried to get them into Ken Burn's documentaries but they move too slow for the kid's taste. I love hearing my children talk about the follies of the farming practices of the day. Wow... they are listening to me.

frugalmaven said...

Funny, my husband and I just watched that this weekend. While
I don't subscribe to the whole climate change con, I do know we are not managing our natural resources as we should. I would rather they worry about the soil than what we may or may not be doing with CO2.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post. I will watch this documentary. I am interested in how people made it and why they didn't when times were so hard for them. The more we know the more trouble we can avoid right? You have probably already read it, but I found the book The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan to be informative about the Dust Bowl.

Matt B said...

I stayed up late last night to shuck some corn we've had laying around for way too long. I decided to start watching this on my phone (Netflix) while doing that. Very interesting documentary. I really enjoy Ken Burns' films. The stories of how the Dust Bowl affected children hit home the most for me. It makes you appreciate how much comfort and safety we have in current times but at the same time realize how quickly that could all fade in a very short amount of time. I'm worried we're not heading towards another calamity "Of Biblical proportions" either nationally or globally due to the current farming/business practices. It makes me worry for my children's futures.