"The films of Pare Lorentz are acknowledged masterpieces of world cinema. They are groundbreaking documentary records of our country in the hard years of the Depression." —William M. Drennen, Jr.In the depths of the Great Depression, the U.S. Government produced a series of films about the pressing problems facing the nation—drought, flood, poverty, and slums. Starting with a minuscule initial budget of $6,000, Lorentz, a young film critic from New York who had never made a motion picture, was hired to head the project. The first fruit of his labor, The Plow That Broke the Plains, was a moving and dramatic account of the Dust Bowl that met with immediate and critical acclaim. Lorentz followed up his first film with The River, a history of the Mississippi River Basin and the effect of the Tennessee Valley Authority on the area. Both films demonstrated the potential of the documentary as a powerful impetus to social change, prompting widespread discussion not only of the problems they presented but also of the documentary form itself. This book combines the autobiographical history of a creative communicator and pioneer documentary filmmaker with the full scripts of The Plow That Broke the Plains, The River, Ecce Homo, and The Fight for Life.