The Heartland: An American History

Kristin L. Hoganson. Penguin, $30 (432p) ISBN 978-1-59420-357-2
In this sophisticated, complex work, history professor Hoganson (Consumers’ Imperium) uses the history of Champaign County, Ill., to explore and question the American myth of its “heartland” as a safe, insulated, provincial place—“the quintessential home referenced by ‘homeland security.’” The first chapter shows how white settlers in 1700s and 1800s emphasized local settlement to justify taking land from the mobile Kickapoo population of Central Illinois. Hoganson uses the raising of cattle and hogs in Champaign to trace shifting borders on the North American continent in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Then she dismantles the myth of the isolationist heartland with an analysis of Champaign’s involvement with organizations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the International Institute of Agriculture. And she flips the “flyover country” cliché, looking at how Champaign citizens are connected to the rest of the world by telegraph wires, the weather, migratory birds, and military planes. The final chapter follows the Kickapoo people’s experiences into the 20th century, demonstrating that, contrary to myth, nothing about the heartland’s geography makes it a safe place. Deeply researched with a well-proven argument, Hoganson’s book will attract many scholars as well as general readers who like innovative, challenging history. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/19/2019
Release date: 04/23/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-525-56162-0
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-525-56163-7
Show other formats
FORMATS
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X