My Kind of Midwest: Omaha to Ohio

Overview

“Will it play in Peoria?” That question—only half-joking—hovers over everything from politics to television, an acknowledgment that the Midwest is perhaps the most emblematic regions of the United States today. Stereotypes both good and bad abound about Midwesterners, but in this incisive yet poignant book, John Jakle reveals a rich and telling portrait of the contemporary Midwest and its people.

In engaging prose, Jakle chronicles his childhood and adult life in the Midwest interwoven with a look at the region’s...

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Overview

“Will it play in Peoria?” That question—only half-joking—hovers over everything from politics to television, an acknowledgment that the Midwest is perhaps the most emblematic regions of the United States today. Stereotypes both good and bad abound about Midwesterners, but in this incisive yet poignant book, John Jakle reveals a rich and telling portrait of the contemporary Midwest and its people.

In engaging prose, Jakle chronicles his childhood and adult life in the Midwest interwoven with a look at the region’s geographic and cultural history. My Kind of Midwest reveals that the region is more than just a group of “flyover states,” as Jakle tells a engaging narrative that recounts his youthful explorations of the flourishing cities of Detroit and Chicago in the 1940s; the rapid growth and importance of gateway cities such as Omaha, Kansas City, and Cincinnati along the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri rivers; and the integral role of tourism to Midwestern states’ economies.

An intimate and compelling narrative of one man’s connection to the American landscape, My Kind of Midwest will be essential reading for all those with ties to the heartland.
 

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Editorial Reviews

Karl Raitz

My Kind of Midwest is an original take on a uniquely American region. I can think of no other book with which it compares. Jakle not only describes the essence of the Midwest as a place informed by his own life experiences, but he also explains how human geography can effectively evoke the reality of a region as large and complex as the Midwest.”
James R. Shortridge

“As someone whose age, regional background, and professional interests are similar to the author’s, My Kind of Midwest was somewhat eerie to read. Move the setting a few hundred miles west and Jakle’s life seems to be mine—even down to the part about two daughters. Jakle has captured his (and my) home place well, and all of his arguments and observations ring absolutely true. The book is both warm and wise.”
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Product Details

Meet the Author

John A. Jakle taught for more than thirty years in the departments of geography and landscape architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author or coauthor of a dozen books, including the award-winning Motoring: The Highway Experience in America and City Lights: Illuminating the American Night.
 

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Table of Contents

Preface

The Midwest is My Kind of Place

A Hoosier Holiday

Some Family History of My Own

Travel as a Learning Experience

A Geographer in the Midwest

The Midwest as a Region

Rethinking the Midwest

Coda

Gallery: The Midwest in Pictures

Notes

Suggested Readings

Acknowledgments

About the Author

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