Ex–Chicago Tribune correspondent Longworth (Global Squeeze) paints a bleak, evocative portrait of the Midwest's losing struggle with foreign competition and capitalist gigantism. It's a landscape of shuttered factories, desperate laid-off workers, family farms gobbled up by agribusiness, once great cities like Detroit and Cleveland now in ruins, small towns devolved into depopulated rural slums haunted by pensioners and meth-heads. But the harshest element of the book is Longworth's own pitiless ideology of globalism. In his telling, Midwesterners are sluggish, unskilled, risk-averse mediocrities, clinging to obsolete industrial-age dreams of job security, allergic to change, indifferent to education and totally unfit for the global age. They are doomed because global competition is unstoppable, says Longworth, who dismisses the idea of trade barriers as simplistic nonsense purveyed by conspiracy theorists. The silver linings Longworth floats—biotechnology, proposals for regional cooperation—are meager and iffy. The Midwest's real hope, he insists, lies in a massive influx of mostly low-wage immigrant workers and in enclaves of the rich and brainy, like Chicago and Ann Arbor, where the creative class sells nebulous information solutions to dropouts and Ph.D.s. It's not the Middle West that's under siege in Longworth's telling; it's the now apparently quaint notion of a middle class. (Jan.)
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A passionate, probing and painfully honest book. (Wall Street Journal)
Longworth's book should be of interest even to those who have never come closer to America's heartland than to change planes at O 'Hare. Almost any chapter of Caught in the Middle could generate a book's worth of debate anywhere in this country. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
When I drove to the Midwest after a lifetime on the east coast, I was shocked (if not horrified) by the vast stretches of nothingness, or even worse, decay, along the route to my... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Evelyn Feldschuh
A colleague of mine recommended this book as a good way to understand the Midwest. It was excellent advice. Read morePublished 18 months ago by David Richards
This book should be read by everyone that lives and loves the Midwest. This is as blueprint to rebuild America's Heartland.Published 23 months ago by William Schmoekel
Longworth, a former Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent, turned his eye on his native Midwest to assess why the Rust Belt is so rusty and why the farm towns are losing people at... Read morePublished on August 3, 2013 by Benjamin Recchie
Agree with most of the concepts - middle america is being squeezed by the changes of immigration, automation, and open markets, but the book could be half as big and tell the story... Read morePublished on December 20, 2012 by Joe Boyce
I was saying to a friend that the trouble with this new millennium is that there is simply not the need for as many workers as we have needed in the past. Read morePublished on December 15, 2012 by Lori Clark
I loved this book so much I read it twice. I have lived in the midwest and can clearly see how its fortunes and America's are so much more closely linked than many coastal pundits... Read morePublished on October 1, 2012 by Amazon Customer
I felt divided in reading this book.
Longworth does have a fairly in-depth understanding of the Midwest. Read more