Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town
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Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town

3.4 55
by Nick Reding
     
 

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ISBN-10: 1596916508

ISBN-13: 9781596916500

Pub. Date: 06/09/2009

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

The dramatic story of the methamphetamine epidemic as it sweeps the American heartland—a timely, moving, very human account of one community's attempt to battle its way to a brighter future.

Crystal methamphetamine is widely considered to be the most dangerous drug in the world, and nowhere is that more true than in the small towns

Overview

The dramatic story of the methamphetamine epidemic as it sweeps the American heartland—a timely, moving, very human account of one community's attempt to battle its way to a brighter future.

Crystal methamphetamine is widely considered to be the most dangerous drug in the world, and nowhere is that more true than in the small towns of the American heartland.

Methland tells the story of Oelwein, Iowa (pop. 6,159), which, like thousands of other small towns across the country, has been left in the dust by the consolidation of the agricultural industry, a depressed local economy, and an out-migration of people. As if this weren't enough to deal with, an incredibly cheap, longlasting, and highly addictive drug has rolled into town.

Over a period of four years, journalist Nick Reding brings us into the heart of Oelwein through a cast of intimately drawn characters, including: Clay Hallburg, the town doctor, who fights meth even as he struggles with his own alcoholism; Nathan Lein, the town prosecutor, whose caseload is filled almost exclusively with meth-related crime; and Jeff Rohrick, a meth addict, still trying to kick the habit after twenty years.

Tracing the connections between the lives touched by the drug and the global forces that set the stage for the epidemic, Methland offers a vital and unique perspective on a pressing contemporary tragedy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596916500
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
06/09/2009
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
932,109
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Contents Prologue: Home....................1
Part One: 2005 1. Kant's Lament....................21
2. The Most American Drug....................40
3. The Inland Empire....................58
4. Family....................73
5. The Do Drop Inn....................90
Part Two: 2006 6. Mirror Imaging....................107
7. The Cop Shop....................120
8. Waterloo....................137
9. The Inland Empire, Part Two....................150
10. Las Flores....................168
Part Three: 2007 11. Algona....................185
12. El Paso....................194
13. Disconnected States....................208
14. Kant's Redemption....................217
15. Independence....................231
Epilogue: Home Again....................240
Acknowledgments....................251
A Note on Sources....................255

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Methland 3.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 55 reviews.
JamesHooper More than 1 year ago
Somewhere there is a good story waiting to be told about OELWEIN, Iowa and its meth problems, but it is not contained in Nick Reding's tall tale entitled Methland. When an author cannot get simple details correct, details that could be ascertained by a 5 minute perusal of an Iowa roadmap, it is hard to put much faith that the rest of the book is not equally flawed. Mr. Reding might want to know that the University of Northern Iowa is not in Cedar Rapids, as he states on page 74. His New York and St. Louis readers will not care about such a minor slip up, but they should. When Reding cannot get the little things correct, such as the distances between towns or the simple fact that Oelwein isn't on the Mississippi River (as Reding implies on the first page), then why should we believe he can recall a drunken conversation he may have had 3 or 4 years ago? It just doesn't make sense. Methland is less a book about "the death and life of an American town" as it is an attempt to indict corporations such as Tyson or Cargill. I found it fascinating that more than once he talks about workers being unable to obtain worker's compensation insurance from their employers, but provides no documentation for this assertion. No names, no examples, no dates, just a casual comment. It is difficult to quarrel with Reding's impressions of people and events, because his impressions are his own. However, in the opinion of many people who have actually lived in the area for years as opposed to visiting for a few weeks (as did Reding), his impressions are misguided and I think in some cases downright false. It must be convenient for him that he made no recordings or took no notes. In this way he is unaccountable for his impressions. The biggest problem with this book is it is simply inaccurate. It is filled with mistakes, and is sloppily written and even more sloppily edited. It is difficult to imagine such a book could even be published when it contains so many factual errors. Unfortunately Reding could not decide what book to write. He tried to tell about the plight of a small town battling drug abuse. He tried to bring attention to the struggles of illegals and their substandard working conditions. He wanted to talk about the struggles of the family farm and the rise of the evil corporations who have no compassion for humanity. Sadly, he fails to really cover any of these topics in rich enough detail to keep the reader informed or interested. Somewhere in here is the beginning of a good Novel but as a work of nonfiction, Methland fails to make the grade.
MC93 More than 1 year ago
I put this book down before I was halfway through it. It's depressing not because of the subject matter but because the portrayal of Iowa and Iowans is so bland and stereotypical. Additionally, Mr. Reding would greatly benefit from the services of an editor who might actually take the time to consult a map. As a two-time graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, in CEDAR FALLS, I am appalled that a text this sloppily put together is getting such praise from the national media.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a lifelong resident of Iowa and a witness to the meth epidemic that Mr. Reding discusses in his book, I have to honestly say that I expected much more. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a timely and relevant topic, especially in the Midwest. Nor is there any doubt that it is a prevalent problem, one that stretches across social and economic boundaries. However, there were far too many assumptions made in this book as were there very obvious mistakes. As a reader, I found it very difficult to get over the obvious and blatant errors that the author made. Examples: on page 2 of the book he talks about passing through Cedar Rapids and the "Purina plant, which bathes everything for miles around in the sweet smell of breakfast cereal." For one, there is no Purina plant in Cedar Rapids or even in the near vicinity. Second, the plant he is referring to is Quaker Oats and it is so obviously marked that if Mr. Reding indeed make several trips to Oelwein as he states, this should have been a no-brainer. On page 74, he states that Clay and Charlie graduated together from "the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Rapids." There are only 3 public universities in the state of Iowa, it is shameful that Mr. Reding couldn't even get the correct city...it's Cedar Falls. Finally, he states that Iowa's largest city is Iowa City. Really? Because a simple look at a map of Iowa will indeed show that it is actually Des Moines. A simple fact check could have caught all of these mistakes. There truly is no excuse on the part of Mr. Reding. I have to honestly say that I could not recommend this book to anyone. I simply cannot. And quite frankly, as an Iowan, I am offended that an author who had every chance to bring this topic to light completely blew it with his big-city arrogance and lack of journalistic skills.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
there is sooo much wrong in this book. yes i bought it since i live in oelwein only for a memory later in life. He talks about resturants he was NEVER in. says places are where they are not, talks about the coffee shop like it was a main place in town. NO ONE went there that is why it is closed and didnt last maybe a year. Also he talks so much about Nathan Lein and his love life i think that was just filler for pages. the history was interesting though, i learned some stuff hopefully that was true, who knows with him writting it. I know so much is wrong about oelwein that it makes me wonder if the stuff outside of oelwein is completly true.It was so BORING i never read a book so slow. I'm quite a reader and this was hard too read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book informs readers about the nature, disadvantages, consequences, etc. of manufacturing and using methamphetamines. It discusses economic factors that may have, rightly or wrongly, contributed to an at least temporary meth endemic in a small town. The book describes how big companies (first railroads, then integrated food producers)contributed to the the downward economic spiral in the town. It also mentions how big food companies knowingly contribute to the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. and how they create distress for the remaining family farms. In the long run, these economic issues may be more important to the country than a methamphetamine problem.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book drags in few chapters but overall i found it fascinating. It showed me a world i know nothing about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a good book, my childhood having been effected Meth I found this book informative and informational. I couldn't stop reading it till I finished it.
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Perhaps Mr. Reding's book could have profited from a rigorous details-check of certain inaccuracies regarding geography and which agra-business on a stretch of road aroused the author's nose, but the complaints here amount to the carping of those made either uncomfortable by the portrait given, or simply those unable to comprehend the connections made between the gutting of rural economies, the outcomes of Agra-business & Big Pharma's influence on national policies, and the international drug trade as it impacts the manufacture and use of methamphetimine. As one who lives fairly close to the county in Missouri cited as having the "Meth Capitol" in the Mid-West(and has property in a rural area vandalized by those under the sway of 'crank') this reads all too sadly true. Mr. Reding has done his homework, and 'Methland' gives you a far, far greater understanding of how events in Mexico, India, South Korea, American immigration policies, corporate hiring of hard-working illegal immigrants,& the lobbying efforts of those representing businesses and corporations created what we now have: what is, IMO, the most corrosive and damaging aspect of domestic drug abuse and pathology in the USA. Read this book...
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