For many Americans, the Midwest is a vast unknown. In "Remaking the Heartland," Robert Wuthnow sets to rectify this. He shows how the region has undergone extraordinary social transformations over the past half-century, and proven itself surprisingly resilient in the face of such hardships as the Great Depression and the movement of residents to other parts of the country. He examines the heartland's reinvention throughout the decades and traces the social and economic factors that have helped it to survive and prosper.
Wuthnow points to the critical strength of the region's social institutions established between 1870 and 1950--the market towns, farmsteads, one-room schoolhouses, townships, rural cooperatives, and manufacturing centers that have adapted with the changing times. He focuses on farmers' struggles to recover from the Great Depression well into the 1950s, the cultural redefinition and modernization of the region's image that occurred during the 1950s and 1960s, the growth of secondary and higher education, the decline of small towns, the redeployment of agribusiness, and the rapid expansion of edge cities. Drawing his arguments from extensive interviews and evidence from the towns and counties of the Midwest, Wuthnow provides a unique perspective as both an objective observer and someone who grew up there.
"Remaking the Heartland" offers an accessible look at the humble yet strong foundations that have allowed the region to endure undiminished.
Well-respected sociologist Wuthnow interweaves interviews, diaries and memoirs, and census data into a series of case studies to describe a region that is thriving in the new economy, primarily because of culture and institutions... [Remaking the Heartland] is well-written, documented, and argued. Choice Anyone interested in the economic development of the Midwest and a counterintuitive approach to the region's future should read Wuthnow's account, which can, once again, spur us to take the region's history seriously. -- Jon Lauck Omaha World-Herald [Remaking the Heartland] is a well-written, detailed, and persuasive account of change in the region. -- J. L. Anderson American Historical Review Wuthnow provides a much needed and refreshing look into the assumptions that Middle America, especially small-town Middle America, is dying or at worst already lost to modern, urban society. -- Michelle Meyer Lueck Rural Sociology The book is as much history as social science, and the writing flows seamlessly from personal observation to archival material, and from case studies to broad generalization. The total package is impressive: insights from some two hundred in-depth interviews supplemented by information from local newspapers, company reports, and an original content analysis of changing values via the Farm Journal magazine. Wuthnow is also a skilled writer who displays just the right blend of affection and detachment while leading readers through a nuanced story. -- James R. Shortridge Material Culture We are fortunate to have a social scientist and historian with the stature of Robert Wuthnow undertake the sort of study that draws on oral history interviews, newspaper accounts, census data and broad cultural histories and interpretations. Wuthnow adds a new perspective on rural life and culture... What saves the book from statistical overload is the way interviews with particular people demonstrate the impact of the data; especially good are the interviews in which interviewees describe the change they have seen over their lifetime, usually four or five decades. -- Shannon Jung Christian Century This study deserves, even requires, multiple readings to fully appreciate its contribution to our knowledge about the Midwest. Historians and other scholars of the region will find it informative and useful. -- R. Douglas Hurt Kansas History
|List of Tables||p. vii|
|Here in the Middle||p. 7|
|Recovering from the Great Depression||p. 22|
|Reinventing the Rustic Life||p. 57|
|Education in Middle America||p. 92|
|The Decline of Small Communities||p. 126|
|The Changing Face of Agribusiness||p. 171|
|From Towns to Sprawling Suburbs||p. 214|
|Selected Bibliography||p. 335|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 376
Published: 28th December 2010
Dimensions (cm): 23.6 x 16.3 x 2.885
Weight (kg): 0.662