Quirky Books: Years of Dust by Albert Marrin

Monday, April 2, 2012

Years of Dust by Albert Marrin

Though found in the nonfiction juvenile section of the library "Years of Dust: the Story of the Dust Bowl" is an excellently written account of United States History. It is easy to read the entire book in a couple of days to understand major events impacting life and relationships with nature throughout the world.

Albert Marrin, born 1936, is a Professor Emeritus of History at Yeshiva University. Writing over twenty books for Young Adults, he has several awards including: Washington Post Nonfiction Award; James Madison Book Award for Lifetime Achievement and 2008 Endowment for Humanities Medal. Writing is excellent, though overusing commas, without being pretentious.

Surprisingly accurate content adults with also enjoy this book. It covers a wide range of information. With an orientation towards economy and social consequences there are several insights surrounding the Dust Bowl. There is a definition of "Okie." Not remembering if hearing this previously it relates to a negative attitude from surrounding states. Several people felt people from the Dust Bowl might be responsible for the Great Depression.

Wanting to read about environmental impacts descriptions are available in a few chapters. Disappointed by a lack of information in relation to conclusions from the Soil Conservation Service methods for dust storm prevention are mentioned in a quick summation. There are occasional mentions of various technological advancements. The final chapter summarizes global impact in countries utilizing conservation techniques.

Dorothea Lange, born 1895, provides most photographs. Dorothea Lange was a Photojournalist working for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression. These historically accurate pictures are not silly illustrations most people associate to Children's Books. Focusing on migrant workers, Lange's most famous photograph is "Migrant Mother."

Compiling over a decade of information in under two hundred pages "Years of Dust" is a wonderful intermediary book. Everyone should read this book. It expands on the handful of sentences in history books so the topic is relatable; ergo, memorable. Timelines prepare people studying in specific fields with basic understanding between relationships of facts and numbers. In addition, it is one of the largest collections of Lange's photography outside an art gallery.

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