Steven Conn is the W. E. Smith Professor of History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
Stephen George is President and CEO of Louisville Public Media. A Louisville native, he has spent most of his career in journalism.
"There's no such thing as rural America. Or, rather, as Steven Conn argues, "rural America" is a phrase that has been made to mean so many things that it doesn't mean anything. In fact, he maintains, rural America--so often characterized as in crisis or in danger of being left behind--has been shaped by the same major forces as the rest of the country since at least the end of the Civil War: militarization, industrialization, corporatization, and suburbanization. Conn calls for us to dispense with the fantasies and visions that are often imposed on rural America, in the hopes of more productively addressing the real challenges facing all of America"
A "piercing, unsentimental" (New Yorker) history that boldly challenges the idea of a rural American crisis.
It seems everyone has an opinion about rural America. Is it gripped in a tragic decline? Or is it on the cusp of a glorious revival? Is it the key to understanding America today?