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Methland: The Death and Life of an American…

Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town

by Nick Reding

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6175815,790 (3.66)48
  1. 30
    No Speed Limit: The Highs and Lows of Meth by Frank Owen (sfarmer76)
    sfarmer76: Reding's book looks at the devastation caused by Meth in a single Iowa town. The book by Frank Owen is a little more far-ranging in scope.
  2. 10
    Chemical Cowboys: The DEA's Secret Mission to Hunt Down a Notorious Ecstasy Kingpin by Lisa Sweetingham (sfarmer76)
    sfarmer76: Similar in vein to books by Frank Owen, and Nick Reding -- only about Ecstasy instead of Meth.
  3. 21
    Tweak : (growing up on methamphetamines) by Nic Sheff (sfarmer76)
    sfarmer76: Fictional account of a meth addict, written by a recovered meth abuser.

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» See also 48 mentions

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An important step in ending the systemic denial regarding the severity of the illegal drug problem in rural America. I appreciate Mr Reding's perseverance in writing a book almost nobody really wanted to read. I just wish his subtitle had been "How Big Ag Helped Turn America's Family Farms Into Crack Dens". ( )
  dele2451 | Jan 25, 2014 |
A disturbing look at the role of methamphetamine in rural America and the toll it has taken. Focused on Oelwein, Iowa, Reding brings us the story of meth cooks, junkies, doctors, lawyers, and politicians and how their lives intersect and influence one another thanks to the devastation wrought by this drug. A fascinating book, but weakened a bit by a little too much repetition. ( )
  katiekrug | Jun 29, 2013 |
This book was a recommended read from my Books-A-Million desk calendar, so I borrowed it from the library. It proved to be a fascinating study about the political, economic, and social factors that have led to the wide-spread epidemic of meth use throughout small-town America. By focusing on the small town of Oelwein, Iowa and getting to know the addicts, suppliers, doctors, lawyers, and lawmen there, the author made the battle against meth a very personal one. He also placed Oelwein in the larger context of meth abuse throughout North America with a primary focus on small towns. It was an eye-opening read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to understand more about this troubling epidemic and how people in all walks of life are struggling to battle it. ( )
  TheLoopyLibrarian | May 15, 2013 |
This is a must read book about crystal meth, drug trafficking, Big Agriculture and the decline of rural America. All in about 250 pages of text. Quite a work of investigative journalism and an amazing piece of writing, which should be yet another call to action for us. Reding convincingly ties the growth of meth addiction to consolidation of agricultural and food processing companies into a few mega-corporations, corporate lobbying and the decline of small town America. This book helped me understand what meth is, why it is so prevalent and what some communities have done to combat it. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
As other reviewers have caught, there are a few factual inaccuracies in Methland, inaccuracies that are easily verified had the author rechecked his facts. The most obvious ones being that the University of Northern Iowa is not in Cedar Rapids but in Cedar Falls, and that Iowa City is not the largest city in Iowa. Some Iowans may find them annoying, but to the typical reader a couple of mistaken facts hardly detract from the enormity of the book. Serious reviewers will look past them to its heart: the sociological and economic destruction of a small town, a town that can be anywhere in the country, but in this book is Oelwein, Iowa.

More to come. I have a lot to say about this book. In the meantime, you can read the first chapter online here: http://methlandbook.com/Methland_prologue.pdf

And you may be interested in reading the following reviews:
Nathan Lein, Assistant Fayette County Attorney, and one of the main people that the author spent the most time with while researching the book:

Walter Kirn, the New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/books/review/Kirn-t.html ( )
  admccrae | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
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For most of those which were great once are small today; and those which used to be small were great in my own time...Human prosperity never abides long in the same place.
- Herodotus, The Histories
To my wife and my son
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As you look down after takeoff from O'Hare International Airport, headed west for San Francisco, California, it's aonly a few minutes before the intricate complexity of Chicago's suburban streets is overcome by the rolling swell of the prairie.
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Chronicles the author's four year study of meth production and addiction in the small town of Oelwein, Iowa (pop. 6,000).
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The dramatic story of the methamphetamine epidemic of the 1980s as it sweeps the American heartland--a moving, very human account of one community's attempt to battle its way to a brighter future. Crystal meth is widely considered the world's most dangerous drug, but especially so in the small towns of the American heartland. Journalist Reding tells the story of Oelwein, Iowa (pop. 6,159), which, like thousands of other small towns, 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, 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, tracing the connections between the lives touched by the drug and the global forces that set the stage for the epidemic.--From publisher description.… (more)

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