Back in 1939, Random House dropped a book called Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb, declining because John Steinbeck‘s Grapes of Wrath had swept the market with a similar story about Americans suffering in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.

Babb wouldn’t publish her book until 2004, but Ken Burns‘ new Dust Bowl documentary studied the book last night, driving the book up Amazon charts. UPDATE: In the video embedded above, we’ve added a MediabistroTV interview with Burns about his new documentary.

Last month, Babb’s book was ranked No. 32 out of all books on Amazon, while Grapes of Wrath was ranked No. 1,218.

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