Sad Men

What Writers Can Learn from the Great Depression

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The Plow That Broke the Plains hit theaters around the country in 1936. The Resettlement Administration commissioned the director Pare Lorentz to shoot a film about the Dust Bowl storms that destroyed miles of farmland in the Great Plains.

The Encyclopedia of the Great Plains explained: “[It] was shown in independent theaters, school auditoriums, and other public meeting places throughout the country. It was seen by 10 million people in 1937 alone and would become one of the most widely viewed films in American history.” 

The film inspired a number of Great Depression-era works, including Muriel Rukeyser’s documentary poem, “Book of the Dead.” You can read more about her life and work in my upcoming book.

Filed under Muriel Rukeyser The Plow That Broke the Plains Pare Lorentz