The Death and Life of An American Small Town

Book - 2009
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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 is the story of the drug as it infiltrates the community of Oelwein, Iowa (pop. 6,159), a once-thriving farming and railroad community. Tracing the connections between the lives touched by meth and the global forces that have set the stage for the epidemic, Methland offers a vital and unique perspective on a pressing contemporary tragedy.

Oelwein, Iowa is like thousand of other small towns across the county. It has been left in the dust by the consolidation of the agricultural industry, a depressed local economy and an out-migration of people. If this wasn't enough to deal with, an incredibly cheap, long-lasting, and highly addictive drug has come to town, touching virtually everyone's lives. Journalist Nick Reding reported this story over a period of four years, and he brings us into the heart of the town through an ensemblecast 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 case load is filled almost exclusively with meth-related crime, and Jeff Rohrick, who is still trying to kick a meth habit after four years.

Methland is a portrait of a community under siege, of the lives the drug has devastated, and of the heroes who continue to fight the war. It will appeal to readers of David Sheff's bestselling Beautiful Boy , and serve as inspiration for those who believe in the power of everyday people to change their world for the better.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2009.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781596916500
Characteristics: x, 255 p. ; 25 cm.


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AL_HOLLYR Sep 03, 2017

A devastating portrait of meth addiction in small-town Iowa. Personalizes the larger epidemic by focusing on individual stories and the fate of a single locale.

As someone from Iowa, this book was both eye-opening and heartbreaking to read.

AL_MARYA Jan 14, 2017

A fascinating (and a bit frightening) examination of the powerful forces driving the meth epidemic. A particularly interesting exploration of the meth’s germination in the Heartland.

AL_KATI Sep 24, 2016

Super fascinating and kinda depressing.

RockTheBooks Nov 07, 2011

An honest and non-judgemental look into the manufacture and use of methamphetamine in rural America. Highly thought-provoking and enlightening, this quick read will leave you wondering what can be done to reverse the drug epidemic. The link between economic down turn and drug use is heartbreaking. This book stresses the need for job creation and drug rehabilitation over prison sentencing.

Apr 19, 2011

Bok is funny with alot of information.If i were to write a book it would be this one.

Dec 10, 2010

One of the more interesting non-fiction books I've read in a long while.


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AL_MARYA Jan 14, 2017

We invariably come back to testing as a means of understanding drug use, even though assuming these tests lead to truth puts one on shaky ground…Consider how the National Survey on Drug Use and Health concludes every four years how many meth addicts there are in the United States…it seems unlikely that drug addicts will take this completely optional test; will answer truthfully if they do take it; and will even be at work in the first place--as opposed to home cooking meth.


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