Hollowing Out the Middle: The RuralBrainDrain and What It Means forAmerica

In the wake of the farm crisis of the 1980s, two New Jersey sociologists, Deborah and Frank Popper, suggested that the middle of the United States (between the spine of the Continental Divide and the 98th meridian—from the middle of North Dakota to the middle of Texas) should be designated a “Buffalo Commons.” This suggestion was met with bitter antagonism from the good people who lived in the communities they proposed returning to the buffalo.

Approaching Hollowing Out the Middle, I feared a similar insensitivity to the values of the heartland. But I was wrong. The team of Patrick Carr and Maria Kefalas offer Midwestern congregations and communities a sympathetic, if realistic and disturbing, analysis of the future.


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