Methland

Methland
Nick Reding

This is the sort of in-depth local sociological study you don’t see much of anymore, though the material, as this book demonstrates, is there and it’s still worth digging into. Reding takes a small town in Iowa (flyover country) and looks at how its meth problem ties in to the international drug trade and other forms of globalization, while being exacerbated by the decline of the family farm and lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry. I thought the happy ending a bit hard to believe in – and no mention is made of the irony of Oelwein being tossed a lifeline by a drug company – but if meth is “the most American drug” and Oelwein an archetypal American small town then I guess it’s no surprise to see the story take on the familiar American shape of trial and redemption.