Cover image for Driven from the land : the story of the Dust Bowl
Driven from the land : the story of the Dust Bowl
Meltzer, Milton, 1915-2009.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Benchmark Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
111 pages : illustrations, map ; 26 cm.
Describes the economic and environmental conditions that led to the Great Depression and the horrific dust storms that drove people from their homes westward during the 1930s.
Reading Level:
1100 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.7 2.0 2749.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 9 5 Quiz: 18233 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F595 .M55 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
F595 .M55 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Among the authors of this highly acclaimed series are Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner Milton Meltzer, Coretta Scott King Award winner James Haskins and noted author Raymond Bial. The series itself focuses on major population shifts in America and the driving forces behind them. The authors' vivid accounts are given additional immediacy with the inclusion of excerpts from diaries, newspaper articles and letters.

Author Notes

Historian Milton Meltzer was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1915. He attended Columbia University, but had to leave during his senior year because of the Great Depression. He got a job writing for the WPA Federal Theater Project. During World War II, he served as an air traffic controller in the Army Air Corps. After the war, he worked as a writer for CBS radio and in public relations for Pfizer.

In 1956, he published his first book A Pictorial History of the Negro American, which was co-written by Langston Hughes. They also collaborated on Langston Hughes: A Biography, which was published in 1968 and received the Carter G. Woodson award. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 110 books for young people including Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? about the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression; Never to Forget about the Holocaust; and There Comes a Time about the Civil Rights movement. He also addressed such topics as crime, ancient Egypt, the immigrant experience, labor movements, photography, piracy, poverty, racism, and slavery. He wrote numerous biographies including ones on Mary McLeod Bethune, Lydia Maria Child, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Sanger, and Henry David Thoreau. He received the 2000 Regina Medal and the 2001 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his body of work and his lasting contribution to children's literature. He died of esophageal cancer on September 19, 2009 at the age of 94.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-10. Books in the Great Journeys series highlight great migrations in U.S. history. In accessible formats, they combine clear, engaging text, primary source material, boxed insets, strong images and photographs, and even songs to tell nonsensationalized stories of displacement and devastation. Meltzer uses gripping exerpts and his trademark fine prose to present the history of the slave trade and the Dust Bowl. In They Came in Chains, he places slavery in its global and historical context, using subsequent chapters to convey the horrors of the Middle Passage and life in the Americas. In Driven from the Land, he first discusses the causes of the Great Depression, then travels through the decade's poverty and loss, ending with the New Deal and World War II. Well-reproduced photographs by Dorothea Lange and others of the time greatly enhance the text. The lack of documentation in the books is frustrating, but each volume has an excellent bibliography and a list of further readings to complete its powerful, evenhanded overview. See the Series Roundup in this issue for two more titles in this excellent series. --Gillian Engberg

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-These titles focus on two separate eras of westward expansion. Frontier describes life on the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails, along with the sea routes taken by many California-bound adventurers. Dolan conveys some of the excitement that led so many to risk their lives on these journeys, along with the hardships and disappointments they encountered. The emphasis is on the travel experience rather than on any long-range effects of westward settlements. Quotations from journals lend realism and detail to the clear and readable accounts. A chapter devoted to the Donner Party vividly captures the tragedy. Extended shifts to a second-person narrative ("Let's imagine that you're a forty-niner-") are less compelling. Black-and-white photos and reproductions capture the frontier spirit. Land is riveting from start to finish. Though Dust Bowl journeys make up the heart of the book, Meltzer offers a fascinating and valuable historical perspective, effectively relating the plight of farmers to other events in the world. Well-chosen statistics emphasize the devastation of the Dust Bowl, while lengthy first-person descriptions and excellent black-and-white photos, including several by Dorothea Lange, capture the human element. The author quotes not only those who suffered, but also government officials who recognized the suffering and tried to help, clearly describing the challenges faced by both. Stepping a little beyond the "Great Journeys" focus of the series title, Meltzer has produced an excellent piece of history.-Steven Engelfried, Deschutes County Library, Bend, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.