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The Dust Bowl / The Chicago Fire Review by Kathy Gelzer

The Weather Channel
1650 Marietta Boulevard
Atlanta, GA 30318

The Dust Bowl and The Chicago Fire, each approximately 55 minutes running time length, are part of The Weather Channel's series entitled When Weather Changed History.

Both episodes are similar in format. Fast-paced scene changes are made up of a combination of journal quotes, reenactments, historical footage and photos, and live interviews with various experts such as historians, meteorologists, geographers, and rangers. The Chicago Fire episode also contained many drawings and paintings of the fire. Maps in both cases were helpful in visualizing the weather factors.

The focus is on how these historical events were influenced by weather conditions at the time. Interestingly enough, severe drought and wind were big factors in both of these disasters.

In addition to the meteorology content, plenty of history surrounding these events is also included.

One caution: the word damn occurs once and the word hell a few times during The Dust Bowl episode, as survivors describe or are quoted describing this part of their lives.

My children, who range in age from 8 to 13, all enjoyed and benefitted from these DVD's. I think they have great general appeal and are well produced. The weather angle on these historical events is important and interesting and worth including in one's historical studies.

Product Review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2009