The Heartland: An American History MOBI ä The

The Heartland: An American History A history of a quintessentially American place the rural and small town heartland that uncovers deep yet hidden currents of connection with the worldWhen Kristin L Hoganson arrived in Champaign, Illinois, after teaching at Harvard, studying at Yale, and living in the DC metro area with various stints overseas, she expected to find her new home, well, isolated Even provincial After all, she had landed in the American heartland, a place where the nation s identity exists in its pristine form Or so we have been taught to believe Struck by the gap between reputation and reality, she determined to get to the bottom of history and myth The deeper she dug into the making of the modern heartland, the wider her story became as she realized that she d uncovered an unheralded crossroads of people, commerce, and ideas But the really interesting thing, Hoganson found, was that over the course of American history, even as the region s connections with the rest of the planet became increasingly dense and intricate, the idea of the rural Midwest as a steadfast heartland became a stronger and stubbornly immovable myth In enshrining a symbolic heart, the American people have repressed the kinds of stories that Hoganson tells, of sweeping breadth and depth and soulIn The Heartland, Kristin L Hoganson drills deep into the center of the country, only to find a global story in the resulting core sample Deftly navigating the disconnect between history and myth, she tracks both the backstory of this region and the evolution of the idea of an unalloyed heart at the center of the land A provocative and highly original work of historical scholarship, The Heartland speaks volumes about pressing preoccupations, among them identity and community, immigration and trade, and security and global power And food To read it is to be inoculated against using the word heartland unironically ever again This is a great read for busting the myth that the Heartland is isolated, remote, insular, non cosmopolitan, and some kind of sui generis creation of white pioneer settlers Historian Kristin L Hoganson works with the county containing Champaign, Illinois location of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign to explore the literal draining of the wetlands, the global migratory lives of the birds of this area, the international roots of the domestic pig breed including importation of E This is a great read for busting the myth that the Heartland is isolated, remote, insular, non cosmopolitan, and some kind of sui generis creation of white pioneer settlers Historian Kristin L Hoganson works with the county containing Champaign, Illinois location of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign to explore the literal draining of the wetlands, the global migratory lives of the birds of this area, the international roots of the domestic pig breed including importation of English Berkshires and cash crops like corn, rice, and soybeans, the agricultural communities historical and current involvement in world commerce and travel, and the lives of American Indians, in particular the Kickapoo, whose story spans from the Great Lakes to Mexico Their abuse by individual citizens and the U.S government offers a strong critique of our accepted conceptions of home, land, and belonging What emerges is a muchcomplex picture of the people and places of the Midwest,varied and faceted than even many who live here would generally acknowledge A healthy tonic for those who espouse Coastal mindsets, and an opportunity for locals to engage with an enlarged understanding of the heritage of their place Anyone looking to this book for a broad survey of the Midwest, as the title seems to suggest, will undoubtedly be disappointed What one gets instead is a focused argument, illustrated by an episodic account of interactions with one place in the Midwest, designed to show, insistently and persistently, that the Midwest is not, and never has been, isolated or parochial instead, it has always had and pursued international connections of all sorts The book is not broad chronologically, geographica Anyone looking to this book for a broad survey of the Midwest, as the title seems to suggest, will undoubtedly be disappointed What one gets instead is a focused argument, illustrated by an episodic account of interactions with one place in the Midwest, designed to show, insistently and persistently, that the Midwest is not, and never has been, isolated or parochial instead, it has always had and pursued international connections of all sorts The book is not broad chronologically, geographically, or topically Chronologically, it draws its examples from the period from settlement through World War I, especially the 20 years on either side of the turn of the twentieth century Geographically, it focuses almost exclusively on Champaign County, Illinois, and it is mostly concerned with agricultural issues or the intersection of agriculture and politics The last chapter, on Kickapoo struggles to assert their right to cross the U.S Mexican border, seems to stretch to link to the rest of the book, though on its own merits it was the chapter that I found the most interesting to read Unlike, say, William Cronon s Nature s Metropolis, who gave us broad, illuminating treatments of the production of and trade in grain, meat, and lumber, the details Hoganson includes as examples of international connectedness hardly seem essential to understanding the history of the Midwest Also, the details are often boring Further, it s hardly implausible that these examples could exist alongside as many examples of relative though certainly not absolute parochialism and isolation On the other hand, the book s argument, presented as if it s some radical new departure, will hardly surprise most historians of the region, including any who read Cronon s Nature s Metropolis now nearly 30 years old , which included the following notable sentence The Iowa farm family who raised corn for cattle purchased from Wyoming and who lived in a farmhouse made of Wisconsin pine clothed themselves with Mississippi cotton that Massachusetts factory workers had woven into fabric, worked their fields with a plow manufactured in Illinois from steel produced in Pennsylvania, and ended their Sunday meal by drinking Venezuelan coffee after enjoying an apple pie made on an Ohio stove from the fruit of a backyard orchard mixed with sugar from Cuba and cinnamon from Ceylon 310 In some ways, Hoganson s book is just an expansion of that observation It has made a splash but, for me, was a dud I found this intriguing, thought provoking and wide ranging exploration of what is actually meant by the term The American Heartland most interesting It seems to have divided reviewers between those who love it and those who hate it and many criticisms have been made about some of the author s contentions However, whatever the rights and wrongs of her interpretations of history, it s a great read Her main thesis is that contrary to popular opinion the heartland has never been insular and isol I found this intriguing, thought provoking and wide ranging exploration of what is actually meant by the term The American Heartland most interesting It seems to have divided reviewers between those who love it and those who hate it and many criticisms have been made about some of the author s contentions However, whatever the rights and wrongs of her interpretations of history, it s a great read Her main thesis is that contrary to popular opinion the heartland has never been insular and isolationist but has always looked outward and has always been eager to make global connections In fact the very existence of the heartland depended right from the start on international trade and commerce The book focuses on Champaign County, Illinois, which for the author is emblematic of the heartland and where she is a Professor of History at the University of Illinois I can t comment on the accuracy or otherwise of her claims, but I found the book enlightening and it gave me a whole new perspective on the meaning of that perhaps overused term heartland The Heartland is a brief snapshot of middle America, focusing primarily on Illinois and the community of Champaign, since the author works at the local university She begins by addressing all the nicknames for the Midwest, including the flyover states, a label I personally detest because it s denigrating The Midwest has much to offer and its citizens values are often scoffed at, but midwesterners are hardy, stable, reliable, and loyal Hoganson explores the Kickapoo history and the rich agrar The Heartland is a brief snapshot of middle America, focusing primarily on Illinois and the community of Champaign, since the author works at the local university She begins by addressing all the nicknames for the Midwest, including the flyover states, a label I personally detest because it s denigrating The Midwest has much to offer and its citizens values are often scoffed at, but midwesterners are hardy, stable, reliable, and loyal Hoganson explores the Kickapoo history and the rich agrarian history of the region Overall, it s a good overview to promote the value of the region I m not quite sure why the author felt the need to write it, unless she believed it was necessary to substantiate that the Midwest Is valuable I am a proud native Midwestern who lives not too far from the primary region focused on in the book and I encourage all readers to explore the vast history and richness of the middle west Thanks to NetGalley for the advance read

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top