The 1936 North American Heat Wave: The History of America's Deadly Heat Wave during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression

ISBN: 9781535523981
*Includes pictures
*Includes newspaper accounts and individual accounts of the heat wave
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents

“People caught in their own yards grope for the doorstep. Cars come to a standstill, for no light in the world can penetrate that swirling murk…. The nightmare is deepest during the storms. But on the occasional bright day and the usual gray day we cannot shake from it. We live with the dust, eat it, sleep with it, watch it strip us of possessions and the hope of possessions." – Avis D. Carlson

While farmers were planting crops, the seeds were also being sown for a natural disaster once a severe drought hit the prairie land in the 1930s. Due to a lack of proper dryland farming methods, wind erosion and the drought combined to create horrific dust storms that devastated wide swathes of Great Plains and even reached cities on the East Coast like New York City and Washington, D.C. It’s estimated that the dust storms affected about 100 million acres during the decade, uprooting not just soil but tens of thousands of people as their farms and families suffered. With farms failing across vast portions of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico Colorado and Kansas, those who could no longer support themselves became migrants, moving to other states like California, but the country was still in the throes of the Great Depression. As a result, there was a unique class of suffering that was documented not only in pictures but in graphically realistic novels like John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Pictures of abandoned farms that looked like post-apocalyptic ghost towns helped drive the crisis home.
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