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Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town Hardcover – June 9, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Using what he calls a "live-in reporting strategy," Reding's chronicle of a small-town crystal meth epidemic-about "the death of a way of life as much as... about the birth of a drug"-revolves around tiny Oelwein, Iowa, a 6,000-resident farming town nearly destroyed by the one-two punch of Big Agriculture modernization and skyrocketing meth production. Reding's wide cast of characters includes a family doctor, the man "in the best possible position from which to observe the meth phenomenon"; an addict who blew up his mother's house while cooking the stuff; and Lori Arnold (sister of actor Tom Arnold) who, as a teenager, built an extensive and wildly profitable crank empire in Ottumwa, Iowa (not once, but twice). Reding is at his best relating the bizarre, violent and disturbing stories from four years of research; heftier topics like big business and globalization, although fascinating, seem just out of Reding's weight class. A fascinating read for those with the stomach for it, Reding's unflinching look at a drug's rampage through the heartland stands out in an increasingly crowded field.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
For this powerful, terrifying look at the drug epidemic in America's heartland, Reding studied meth production and addiction in Oelwein over four years. The book's strength lies in its character studies and depictions of destroyed families -- many not for the squeamish -- as well as in its explanation of how meth producers integrate their operations to become major conglomerates. Despite the persuasive narrative, a few reviewers noted a weakness in Reding's attempt to link larger socioeconomic forces (such as the rise of agribusiness) to small towns' meth use and production. But the coupling of classic reporting and a compelling, timely story make Methland a book well worth reading.
Top customer reviews
"Methland" is about the methamphetamine attack on rural America. Focusing on Oelwein Iowa, it's about the ordinary people who use meth, and the ordinary people who make it & deal it. And the reasons why they do.
Globalisation has meant that the old industries (the farming, the rail work & meat packing) are largely gone, or have been changed beyond recognition. Local unemployment is high. What work there is, being done by low paid immigrant labour. Then a drug turns up (in large quantities) that delivers instant pleasure and relief from depression; it's also the only well paying job around. Who can blame anyone for getting in to it? But then the consequences become apparent. ...the addictiveness, the violence, the hideous self-destruction, the neglected children. And behind the scenes, pulling the strings, is big business (agribusiness, the pharmaceutical industry and the Mexican drug cartels) intent on maximizing their profits, with no or little concern for the lives they're destroying.
But "Methland" is much more than this; it's also about the people who fought back to reclaim their lives and their towns. It shows it can be done. Nick Reding has written an important book.
On the subject of meth in rural America, also see the documentary "Montana meth" (HBO). On meth in the gay scene, see Todd Ahlberg's superb documentary " Meth" (Babalu Pictures)
Most disturbing and enlightening at the same time are the idiot congressmen, Senators, Federal committees, DEA, and FBI who start out gangbusters then report "the Meth problem in America is under control and give theirselves all the credit.
Yeoman, Hamas Terrorist groups are already in are getting into the meth game for weapon money. China and Africa bring truck loads across the Canadian border because their safe from USA laws. Then the spanning across America begins. CVS, WALMART, and many other drugs stores refuse to ban the over the counter drugs. Sure you sign your name then right behind you is a RUNNER paying the clerk more than a months salary for their inventory.
Meth is everywhere, killing America slowly but surely. And if the terrorist get involved the free. Super Power wont know what hit them... And can't forget all the Allies of ours that think Obama is incapable in Foreign Policy. So do I!