When I was 9, the Ohio state tourism slogan became: Ohio, The Heart of it All, and I felt vindicated, this little girl who dreamed of the bright lights of big, cosmopolitan (coastal) cities. Maybe, after all, the middle was the sweet spot! And now here comes another HEARTLAND… I’m still reading Sarah Smarsh’s HEARTLAND: A MEMOIR…, when this author interview found my inbox. Thought I’d share with you what might prove to be an interesting historical perspective of the American Midwest. More soon. ~Rebecca
Bridey Heing | Longreads | April 2019 | 10 minutes (2,589 words)
The American Midwest is hard to define. Even which states can be considered “Midwestern” depends on who you ask; is it what lies between Ohio and Iowa? Or does the Midwest stretch further west across the Great Plains; north into Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas; or east into parts of Pennsylvania and New York state? Perhaps part of the confusion over the term is rooted in the idea that the Midwest represents far more than a geographic space — it represents a vision of the country as a whole, and is a stand-in for nostalgia, despite the fact that the reality of the nation, and the Midwest along with it, has always been far messier than any myth.
In her new book, The Heartland: An American History, University of Illinois professor Kristin L. Hoganson tells the story…
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