Reviews in 200 Words

Methland by Nick Reding

In Non-Fiction on December 31, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Understanding the history and complexity of Crystal Methamphetamine is a coming to terms with all that is crippling America. This drug is without a doubt the single most dangerous substance in existence today. But this isn’t just a book about a drug. Nick Reding takes us on a tour through the heartland—the rustbelt—the small towns we all grew up in or around. Small-town America was once antique malls, cafes, mom-and-pop stores; but that’s all tainted now. All of it. Reding magnifies Oelwein, Iowa—a town completely in the grips of meth. And in case you’re not sure exactly what meth is like or what it does to a person, Reding makes it clear; his depictions of individual stories are stomach-churning and sad—sad to the point of absolute emptiness. Through the investigation of the rise of meth and its history, Reding explains its links to the economy (Big Pharmaceuticals), farming (Big Agriculture), and politics. Reding uses the stories of individuals in order to make the issue concrete, in order to remove the distance, “If meth alone were to define Oelwein—and through it, the entire small-town United States—the truth would be hopelessly obscured. And the truth is, Clay and Major, Nathan and Roland, Murphy and Lori and the people in the Do Drop Inn—these people are us.”


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