PACG Book Club for June 2021 - Storm Lake: Change, Resilience, and Hope in America's Heartland by Art Cullen
Art Cullen of the Storm Lake Times in Storm Lake, Iowa, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing due to "tenacious reporting, impressive expertise and engaging writing that successfully challenged powerful corporate agricultural interests in Iowa," to quote the Pulitzer organization.
In his book Cullen also describes what immigration looks like in his small rural Iowa town. We felt this book would also be of interest to our Civil Rights activists working on immigration issues.
Here is a description of the book from Goodreads:
"A reminder that even the smallest newspapers can hold the most powerful among us accountable." --The New York Times Book Review
"[The Storm Lake Times has an] unwavering commitment to elevating the community... Not the enemy of the people but a voice for the people." --Beto O'Rourke, Democratic Presidential Candidate, via Instagram
"From a Pulitzer-winning newspaperman, an unsentimental ode to America's heartland--a story of reinvention and resilience, environmental and economic struggle, and surprising diversity and hope.
When The Storm Lake Times, a tiny Iowa twice-weekly, won a Pulitzer Prize for taking on big corporate agri-industry for poisoning the local rivers and lake, it was a coup on many counts: a strike for the well being of a rural community; and a triumph for that endangered species, a family-run rural news weekly.
In this candid and timely book, Cullen describes how the heartland has changed dramatically over his career, as seen from the vantage point of a farming and meatpacking town of 15,000 in Northwest Iowa. Politics, agriculture, the environment, and immigration are all themes in Storm Lake, a chronicle of a resilient newspaper, as much a survivor as its town.
Iowa plays an outsize role in national politics. Iowa introduced Barack Obama and voted bigly for Donald Trump. Is the state leaning blue, red, or purple in the lead-up to 2020? Is it a bellwether for America? A nostalgic mirage from The Music Man, or a harbinger of America's future? Cullen's answer is complicated and honest--but with optimism and the stubbornness that is still the state's, and his, dominant quality."
Contact me by clicking on my name for a Zoom link to the June PACG Book Club meeting.