A friend from Oelwein, Iowa was distressed to learn that Nick Reding’s best-seller focussed on his hometown. True enough, Methland paints a pretty grim picture of Oelwein earlier in this decade, but goes on to outline steps the town has taken to clean itself up.
Reding aims to provide both the macro and the micro approaches to meth. He interviews addicts, a prosecutor, a local doctor and a couple imprisoned dealers. He ties the destruction of small towns to the farm crisis, and ultimately to immigration policy, big agriculture and big pharmacy company lobbying. He names names.
Reding writes with an infelicitous style tho, and his statistics don’t inspire confidence. I found myself talking back to his book, “Didn’t you just say . . .?” He gets quite a few local details conspicuously wrong–UNI isn’t in Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City isn’t the biggest city in the state. Still, he takes on a big subject and mostly makes it clear.