The Heartland: An American History

The Heartland: An American History

by Kristin L. Hoganson


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A history of a quintessentially American place—the rural and small town heartland—that uncovers deep yet hidden currents of connection with the world.

When Kristin L. Hoganson arrived in Champaign, Illinois, after teaching at Harvard, studying at Yale, and living in the D.C. metro area with various stints overseas, she expected to find her new home, well, isolated. Even provincial. After all, she had landed in the American heartland, a place where the nation's identity exists in its pristine form. Or so we have been taught to believe.

Struck by the gap between reputation and reality, she determined to get to the bottom of history and myth. The deeper she dug into the making of the modern heartland, the wider her story became as she realized that she'd uncovered an unheralded crossroads of people, commerce, and ideas. But the really interesting thing was that over the course of American history, even as the region's connections with the rest of the planet became increasingly dense and intricate, the idea of the rural Midwest as a steadfast heartland became a stronger and more stubbornly immovable myth. In enshrining a symbolic heart, the American people have repressed the kinds of stories that Hoganson tells, of sweeping breadth and depth and soul.

In The Heartland, Kristin L. Hoganson drills deep into the center of the country, only to find a global story in the resulting core sample. A provocative and highly original work of historical scholarship, The Heartland speaks volumes about pressing preoccupations, among them identity and community, immigration and trade, and security and global power. And food. To read it is to be inoculated against using the word "heartland" unironically ever again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594203572
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/23/2019
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 118,000
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Kristin L. Hoganson is the Stanley S. Stroup Professor of United States History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Consumers' Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920; American Empire at the Turn of the Twentieth Century; and Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. Having lived in central Illinois longer than any other place, she now calls the prairie home.

Table of Contents

Introduction: What Is the Nation, at Heart? xiii

1 Between Place and Space: The Pioneering Polities of Locality 3

2 Meat in the Middle: Converging Borderlands in the U.S. Midwest 34

3 Hog-Tied: The Roots of the Modern American Empire 79

4 The Isolationist Capital of America: Hotbed of Alliance Politics 132

5 Flownover States: The View from the Middle of Everything 198

6 Home, Land, Security: Exile, Dispossession, and Loss 259

Conclusion: The Nation, at Heart 300

Acknowledgments 307

Notes 313

Index 387

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