Now I'm getting the chance to read books I didn't have time for before. Think of me whenever you see the slogan "So many books, so little time!" Now I've got the time.  Cheers, Fred.

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

Book Number: 
Date Fred Read: 
December 2018
Fred's Rating: 
Art Cullen
Total Pages: 

Art Cullen, editor of The Storm Lake (Iowa) Times, won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in April 2017. This second smallest newspaper in the Pulitzer’s 101-year history won for taking on corporate agriculture over pollution and local government secrecy. This was a gift book.

I was given the hardcover edition but I give here the Amazon website for the Kindle edition:

[None of the ISBN-10, ISBN-13, or ASIN numbers on Amazon’s websites for the three editions (Kindle, hardcover, or paperback) are recognized by Amazon, thus the ‘no image Circle' appears. I think this new change by Amazon is not good. However, you can see the images of this book's covers at the website above.]

The home page has a very good summary of this book (click on the ‘Read more’ option). I recommend reading the first two reviews of the ‘Top customer reviews’ further down the home page. The review by D. Hearn is entitled ‘Tough Realities and True Compassion Meet in Storm Lake.’ The review by ‘dpd’ is entitled ‘A remarkable gift for America.’ The above summary and these two reviews give a very complete picture of the small city of Storm Lake and how this little newspaper gave accurate warnings of problems the lay ahead for the City’s citizens who consist of a remarkable diversity for a the city and the surrounding rural area around Storm Lake in NW Iowa.

Using Amazon’s ‘Look inside’ option for the Kindle edition will allow you to read the 3-pp Author’s Note, the 4-pp Chapter 1: The First Question: Why? and the 6-pp Ch. 2: The Next Question: Why Not?. The Kindle coverage ends after the first page of the 10-pp Ch. 3: “And Ye Shall Have Dominion over the Land.” Reading this informs you of the author’s good writing style – concise and with wit.

I found the book hard to put down for the most part. The part that was not hard to put down involved Art Cullen’s editorials warning famers of the problems that modern agribusiness was putting on the way farming was changing – with little or no real freedom for farmers themselves to decide what to plant or raise on their farms. In search of maximum return on their farming efforts, agribusiness had the farmers sign away their freedom at an unprecedented amount. This is by now a well-known story.

Art Cullen’s editorials that I liked best were specific to the Storm Lake area in warning its readers about the pollution and overall environmental harms that the public had to be aware of and had to work together to overcome. A remarkable feature of Storm Lake and its surrounding rural areas was its willingness to welcome other cultures. The descendants of Western European immigrant farmers and merchants are now a minority of the population of the City of Storm Lake.

I really enjoyed this gift book. Anyone who is familiar with growth, or lack thereof, in small town Iowa should be impressed at how well Art Cullen’s editorials kept the Storm Lake area well informed about their potential problems and how to best address them. It is easy to see why he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in April 2017. I rate this book at four stars.