How about a short HH on The Dust Bowl? It wouldn't take too much time and it is something that people know happened with out knowing much about it. Also, bonus for it falling really well into Dan's ability to make you feel what is going on. It tends to get roped in with the Great Depression but is actually a completely seperate event that was catastrophic in it's own right.
Americans, taken as a whole, make the British aristocracy, look like a bunch of Pinkos. - Smitty-48
Shouldn't this be a HH suggestion? It's a good one though. I'm not sure how much the dust bowl was a natural disaster and how much man-made. I expect there's different ideas about that. It must have been a terrible blow to the United States on the eve of becoming the world's predominant nation state to have so many of its citizens suddenly thrown into what amounts to pre-industrial living conditions. Is there more to come? I think it was last year there was mass crop faliure and fires in Russia and that area of the Eurasian continent because their expected rainfall had occurred further south than usual causing catastrophic flooding in the Indian subcontinent. So yes, it's well worth looking at what big environmental disaster does to civilisation.
"We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable." Emperor Hirohito
I have long felt some connection to that time and place. Any time I see documentaries or films set in that time, it resonates with me. It is the Dust Bowl and late antiquity Roman soldiers that does that. This is why I am not completely forlorn with the anticipation of a second great depression. There was a great deal of suffering, but it was not all bad. People became stronger. Communities strengthened. Families fell back upon one another for strength and security. Church attendance peaked. The net result was the greatest progressive era in American history.
“If the human race is to survive, then for all but a very brief period of its history, the word ship will mean space ship.” –Arthur C. Clarke