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Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by The Wiser Hatter, Jul 24, 2012.
First preview of Ken Burn's new documenty the Dust Bowl.
Dust Bowl Preview
I love his documentaries, and I am fascinated by this subject matter. I can remember reading about the Dust Bowl in school but never really getting a firm grasp of it. Watching and reading a few other works on it, things were put into perspective. I am looking forward to Burns' take on it since he does such a wonderful job on capturing subject material.
Thanks for the heads up Wiser Hatter!
"The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan is a good book about the Dust Bowl.
WGBH did a series called "the 1930's" and one of the 5 programs was "Survivng the Dust Bowl" which was a really great program among some of the best on the Great Depression.
At the link there is a button where you can watch it on line.
Ken Burns tends to hit some home runs with his documentaries, I am sure this will be great.
As always, he has found some amazng and obscure photos and videos. I've been wanting him to do one of his documentaries on the CCC for years, especially while there are still a few around who were in it.
I love Ken Burns' documentaries about the US, is he related to Ric Burns, another historical documentary maker? Ric made a fantastic feature of the Donner Party but his narrator Ian McCulloch? really brought it to life.
The dust bowl era to me is best immortalised in Steinbecks book The Grapes of Wrath. Not so much the film with Henry Fonda, ending with everybody thinking 'Well times are hard but will get through in the end' type feeling, but in the book, everyone starving, broken dreams and hopelessness all around. Set in the so called Golden era, not so golden for some.
Ken is Ric's older brother.
Farming the Dust Bowl is another fantastic book about the period.
My mother was born in western Oklahoma in 1934 to dirt poor sharecroppers. Three of her brothers and a sister moved to California when she was very young. Although she seldom told me stories of her childhood (she was too young for some of the worst) I always knew it deeply affected her and she was determined to escape it and give my brothers and me a better life. I will surely watch the series.
I have this book and keep meaning to read it. He was the principle person the History Channel interviewed for a documentary on the Dust Bowl a few years ago. I can't wait to see what Burns does with this. He is a genius at the documentary.
For me, it was one of those books that I had a hard time putting down.
I will definitely have to read it, then!
I am so looking forward to this! Like many of you, I believe Ken Burns is a genius when it comes to the documentary. He makes the subject matter really come to life in a way other filmmakers do not. I had zero interest whatsoever in the US Civil War until after watching his series. That's saying something! :lol:
The Donner Party documentary you speak of was an "American Experience" program. It was extremely well-done... maybe too much so! I felt despair after watching it, so much so that it haunted me for days afterward. Everything about it - the camera shots, narration, music - gave me the creeps in a major way. It really left the viewer with the full impact of what happened to that party.
There already is a nice documentary on the Dust Bowl up on YouTube. It's not Ken Burns but still an interesting watch:
Just watched the first hour of the Dust bowl by Ken Burns on my iPhone at lunch using the PBS app.
Its a great show as is all Ken Burns work.
Oh it Start's this Sunday the 18th of November.
Here are some screen captures I did while watching a bunch of great images.
I'll have to check that out. Thanks!
My only criticism of the book is that it would have made a great magazine piece, if only there were still magazines that published long, long pieces, but not so long that they reach book length. Not even The New Yorker has done such things in an awfully long time. But book publishers need book-length manuscripts, so we get lots of books, particularly on the non-fiction side, that are too long by half, at least.
I was muttering to myself, as I read another long, drawn-out account of a particularly nasty dust storm and its attendant human suffering, "Okay, Tim, I get it; it was really, really bad. Now, can we move this story along a bit, or shall we spin our wheels in this here rut for another several pages?"
But I accept that mine is apparently a minority view. The book met with quite favorable reviews.
Well, the title of the book was "The Worst Hard Time". The whole premise of the book was about people coping with a long, drawn out disaster. I'm trying to imagine what you else may have been expecting. What other story were you expecting to move along too?[huh]
I said it was a minority opinion, didn't I? And just because the entire Dust Bowl experience was a long, drawn-out disaster doesn't mean a book about it ought to be. From my way of seeing things, an example or two of "just how bad it was" would have left a more powerful and lasting impression.
At half the length, it would have made a great magazine piece, if only there were still magazines that published such lengthy pieces. (That still happens, but rarely.) So the demands of the publishing business leave writers with little choice but to produce book-length manuscripts.
And I said it was my only criticism. Egan is a talented guy, and it's still a very good book in many ways. It won a National Book Award, as I recall, so Those Whose Opinions Count for Something thought well of it. But there are many award-winning efforts ("Best Picture" Oscar winners, for instance) that I find less than 100 percent deserving.