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Storm Lake

A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper

By Art Cullen
Narrated by Chris Henry Coffey / 10 hours 37 minutes

"A reminder that even the smallest newspapers can hold the most powerful among us accountable." --The New York Times Book Review

“[The Storm Lake Times has an] unwavering commitment to elevating the community… Not the enemy of the people but a voice for the people.” --Beto O’Rourke, Democratic Presidential Candidate, via Instagram

From a Pulitzer-winning newspaperman, an unsentimental ode to America's heartland--a story of reinvention and resilience, environmental and economic struggle, and surprising diversity and hope.

When The Storm Lake Times, a tiny Iowa twice-weekly, won a Pulitzer Prize for taking on big corporate agri-industry for poisoning the local rivers and lake, it was a coup on many counts: a strike for the well being of a rural community; and a triumph for that endangered species, a family-run rural news weekly.

In this candid and timely book, Cullen describes how the heartland has changed dramatically over his career, as seen from the vantage point of a farming and meatpacking town of 15,000 in Northwest Iowa. Politics, agriculture, the environment, and immigration are all themes in Storm Lake, a chronicle of a resilient newspaper, as much a survivor as its town. 

Iowa plays an outsize role in national politics. Iowa introduced Barack Obama and voted bigly for Donald Trump. Is the state leaning blue, red, or purple in the lead-up to 2020? Is it a bellwether for America? A nostalgic mirage from The Music Man, or a harbinger of America's future? Cullen's answer is complicated and honest--but with optimism and the stubbornness that is still the state's, and his, dominant quality.

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