The Dust Bowl

R. Douglas Hurt, professor and head of the Purdue University Department of History, served as program advisor for the newest Ken Burns documentary, The Dust Bowl, which premiered on PBS in November.

Hurt, who specializes in American agricultural history and is author of The Dust Bowl: An Agricultural and Social History, was interviewed about the causes and consequences of the Dust Bowl, which ruined farmland and left many people destitute in the 1930s. He also discussed how people in the region and the federal government responded to the drought and the worst wind-erosion problem in American history.

“The Dust Bowl and drought of the 1930s attracted a great deal of attention during this past summer’s drought, and this documentary highlights how nature and agriculture can affect the environment for both good and ill,” says Hurt, who also is quoted in the book that accompanies the film.

Other books by Hurt are The Big Empty: The Great Plains in the Twentieth Century, and Problems of Plenty: The American Farmer in the Twentieth Century.