TV review: Nation brought to its knees in 'The Dust Bowl'

Ken Burns documentary shows how nation was brought to its knees

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  • justired Fillmore, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 5:58 a.m.

    i've seen other documentaries of the dust bowl, but this one is better. at 4 hours, it has time to go into more detail than i've seen before. i was born in 1942, but when i asked my mother why she said Pres. Roosevelt's name with something approaching reverence, she said "He gave us Hope".

    i noticed in the second segment, a woman says the exact quote, adding "when there was no hope".

    most youth growing up today know no history, and they're usually not interested in finding any out. But they are more willing to watch video than be lectured to or read a book, so this may help a few. i can't believe he was able to find and put together so many telling pictures, but i applaud the result.

  • Gracie Boise, ID
    Nov. 18, 2012 10:10 a.m.

    "But let me whisper something into your ear: The film is too long. At a full four hours in length, "The Dust Bowl" soon becomes mind-numbing."

    I disagree. I've seen this broadcast now twice. It takes awhile to thoroughly tell important stories with many facets. Four hours for ten years of misery isn't too long. "Mind-numbing" might instead be feeling overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the horrors people experienced, viewed up close on television. I almost didn't watch it a second time because I knew what was coming and it was painful to endure twice. Part of what made the film so compelling and frightening was hearing the testimonials of farmers after that time who didn't want to do things differently, to avoid the disaster in the future. The magnitude of their desire to farm in the same destructive ways infuriated me, that they might endanger others recklessly. I loved seeing evidence of Divine intervention when dust settled over Washington, D.C. before Congress' vote for aid. It was heartening also to note that many farmers *did* learn to change agricultural practices in positive ways.