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on February 20, 2017
The 2016 election was the second time that the outcome was driven by the electoral votes of rural America vs the popular votes in the cities. This book helps to put the concerns and policy failures of rural America in context. The authors make an effective case for why rural development should be a higher priority in the national policy agenda. They powerfully point out the self-harm that small towns to do themselves by focusing on the academically bound Achievers who leave small towns vs. the family- and work-oriented Stayers who are the future of their communities. The policy prescriptions were less convincing; a quantitative treatment that compared the demographics of the labor supply to the industrial demand suitable for rural areas would have been useful for policymakers. However, overall the sociological research and stories documented in this book are an excellent primer for 21st century American political dynamics.
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on December 31, 2012
I grew up in a small town in the Midwest and can relate to the stories in this book. True, these small towns can be towns that time forgot but that is what attracts some people to them. It is not all about high-powered jobs, money to amass objects and constant stimulation for all people. People living in small towns or rural areas are not as intellectually or spiritually devoid as stereoptypes would have it. Yet I do understand that poverty and poor living conditions are just as rampant in small towns and rural areas, as it is in cities-just less noticeable. I recommend the read.
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on January 5, 2013
This was an awesome book for anyone who is interested in rural sociology. It goes in-depth into the rural brain drain, and how the best and brightest are strongly encouraged to go to more urban areas, thus these areas are left with less educated populations. It also goes a bit into talking about how to prevent this, and how some states have started huge campaigns to get more people to stay in these rural areas. If you're interested in kind of the same concept from a urban perspective read Ain't No Makin' It by Jay MacLeod. When read in tandem they give a really interesting viewpoint on how America is becoming increasingly suburban, as many people try to avoid the pitfalls of both rural and urban areas.
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on January 10, 2016
I liked this book as I was reading it and have retained its overall message about the state in rural America. Since reading it I have questioned some of the research methods used. That has not take away from the realities of the changing life in our small towns. I live in a frontier area that is the poster child for the tenants of the book. All in all, the book goes to the heart of communities, youth and families dealing with the restraints of being loyal to your roots.
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on December 25, 2009
Hollowing Out the Middle, the rural brain drain and what it means for America,
PJ Carr, MJ Kefalas, Beacon press

This book made me face up to being a thoughtless "achiever" from a town like Ellis in the post world war II era. While I never felt coddled by the 8,000 member towns educators, and was taught from a young child that physical work mattered a lot, still the resources available to and directed at a favored social sector made it easy to climb aboard that train. Others, less sure of themselves, maybe too virtuous, less encouraged at home, slowly fell behind. It certainly was not raw intelligence that led to success as an engineer from a "local shift boss college". Many who were left off that train were smarter, many more were just as smart then and admirable "stayers" now, 50 years later.

The authors have it right. More so now for this globalized world. We have to divide those educational and support resources better so the need to leave, and then forget is made no greater than the desire to stay and contribute over a lifetime.

Larry N.
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on October 4, 2011
I thought the book was both interesting and informative. The fact that qualitative data was the basis for the entire book was concerning but overall how else would you measure the construct of interest? The book sheds light on a fading way of life most people never think about. Personally, I can see the very same thing happening in the small towns near my hometown. I've heard this described as "leftist propaganda" but for what I ask??? If you believe this book is fictional or an exaggeration of the reality of many rural towns, I would bet the farm you haven't driven through the Heartland or Appalachia recently.
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on February 23, 2017
Excellent book! This is a book anyone who lives or studies rural areas should read.
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on December 14, 2014
I believe it explained many of the problems facing middle America, although without many concrete suggestions on how to rectify the problem. As someone who resides in the Midwest it was a good read though.
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on January 5, 2014
This is an interesting book that really sends a great message. It makes you stop and think about the way our society has left an entire group of children behind. Restructuring our system with a few tweeks will help everyone be pulled into our communities. Good read.
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on September 25, 2015
Not as good as I would have hoped. I really enjoyed Harry Wong and was recommended this book by a co-worker.
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