Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder - Chapter 11: Dusty Old Dust Summary & Analysis

Caroline Fraser
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Summary

Fraser begins this chapter with a description of the worst man-made ecological disaster of all time, the Dust Bowl. In 1934, the western drought was so bad that it dumped dirt clear across the country. In New York, the dirt even darkened the view of the Statue of Liberty. The conditions also brought about an infestation of bugs, included the dreaded grasshoppers. People lived through miserable "black blizzards" that caused the deaths of malnourished children and the elderly. While the seeming apocalypse brought recriminations and fears of God's retribution, it was in actuality caused by small farmers and their practice of intensive cultivation and failure to practice crop rotation.

Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs attempted to solve the problem, at times by slaughtering livestock and paying farmers not to plant crops. Many of his plans were the creation of the Secretary...

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This section contains 1,025 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Study Guide
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