What to Read When You Want to Understand Middle America


Trump was in Iowa this week holding yet another rally. The cheers and opposing jeers were just one more example that there are distinctly opposing narratives in this nation, and the dissonance is tearing us apart. All of these narratives need unwinding and understanding, but let’s start with middle America. Here is a list of books that can, maybe, help us understand some of the stories we tell about ourselves about ourselves.


Those Who Work, Those Who Don’t: Poverty, Morality, and Family in Rural America by Jennifer Sherman


Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild


Giants in the Earth by O.E. Rolvaag


A People’s History of Chicago by Kevin Coval


The Crown Ain’t Worth Much by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib


White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg


Crawlspace by Nikki Wallschlaeger


Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya


Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal


Wild Hundreds by Nate Marshall


The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer