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Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town Hardcover – June 9, 2009
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Oelwein, like many other rural communities, has changed significantly since Nick started this book. Our transformation, thankfully has been extremely positive. We have a new library, a sewer treatment plant that is not violating Clean Water Act Regulations, an absolutely gorgeous downtown area, 400 new jobs in the last 18 months, a microbrewery with multistate distribution agreements, new shops and restuarants, and a new community college campus that allows high school kids to take the kinds of classes previously only available to prep school kids, or kids in major urban centers and allowing them to graduate with an A.A. degree the same day they get their high school diplomas.
My point is simply this: None of the above listed things were here that day Nick and I went to Leo's for lunch. The town was (and still is in some ways) suffering from all the forces described by Nick. There was a palatable sense of despair. The last two chapters describe the start of the transformation, but all books end, and Oelwein's story definitely has not.
The problem is insidious and scary. As of 6.15.2009 52% of my juvenile case load is still because of methamphetamine use/addiction. The police are still arresting dealers and finding purer and more addictive product from Mexico.
Nick's research methods looked pretty solid to me. The Fayette County Sheriff's Office did have input.Read more ›
Oelwein could be Anysmalltown, USA, where the bulk of the employment opportunities have dried up or moved away (in the name of progress - giant agribusiness), and where the inhabitants are looking to escape their troubles and feel better and have the opportunity to make a few bucks to boot. One of the great revelations of the book is that meth was formerly widely used, and historically was associated with increased productivity and an increased sense of well-being (although its bad side-effects were well known).
Just how Oelwein morphed from a railroad roundhouse/agricultural community into a place where people ride their bikes in the open in order to cook meth is a story well-developed in the book, told from the perspective of the prosecutor, the hospital chief of staff and the mayor. Their views on how Oelwein might be brought right again, and their own personal struggles of being in Oelwein are valuable - the approaches they ultimately take might serve as a model for other communities in dire circumstances.Read more ›
Unless you have personal or professional experience with methamphetamine, the topic tends to make people queasy. And when you see the topic highlighted in YOUR town with observations about and quotes from people y ou KNOW, it is surreal and somewhat upsetting.
Methamphetamine production, sale and use have been overwhelmingly costly to Oelwein and rural America in general. But even at its worst, the town did not belong to the Roland Jarvis' of the world. And even the suggestion that it did, chafes.
In my opinion, this book is an essentially accurate representation of the dry rot that meth has inflicted on a wonderful town. It does not reflect 2009 Oelwein as THAT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE. But the subtitle of the book is the death and LIFE of an American small town and it does begin to chronicle the process of Oelwein rising again.
Would I have made some of the observations or emphasized some of the things that Nick Redding did?
But I did not write the book, he did. And that is his prerogative.
But, Mr. Redding, please get a better fact-checker. Methland contains some blue ribbon snafus.
- Pat Taylor
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A frightening story of how Meth is taking over middle American towns and cities, as drugs become hone-made synthetic drugs.Published 20 days ago by A. David Bird
Very insightful. Exploring the ties to the economy and the agricultural industry in particular was thought provoking. Also very damning to the pharmacetical industry. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Marylou Tape-lin
Very good. It wasn't quite as good as I thought. I was expecting more personal stories about the people that meth affected. But that's my fault, I think. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Judith A. Welch
Great read! Well written, enlightening, and quite interesting to read about what really happens in the human body, peoples lives, and communities when Meth takes over as it... Read morePublished 7 months ago by D_Up
This book was amazing. It gives you a very good insight into how crazy the issue of drugs are in America.Published 7 months ago by Trevor
When I think of rural America, I think of a tight knit family, small town life, and a more "traditional" way of living. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Joey L.
This is a disturbing and eye-opening book, but it's also entertaining to read. Author Nick Reding tells a compelling true story with the finesse of the best suspense novel. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Sam I Am