Little Houses and Big Truths on the Prairie: Caroline Fraser’s Laura Ingalls Wilder

It takes a lot of work to uncover what really happened to the vast prairies of the North American Midwest.  You have to dig under Frederick Jackson Turner’s famous 1890 declaration that the frontier had made America what it was and now it was gone.  Pioneer famers, Turner said, had busted sod, felled forests, and […]

Revisiting a Letter to My Haitian Neighbor (plus Ry Cooder!)

Maybe I was a little premature.  When I saw my Haitian neighbor leaving town awhile back, I wrote a letter assuming that his departure meant we were going to see a more general exodus from town.  I wrote the letter in frustration over the wretched condition of our immigration policies.  The Haitian community on the […]

There’s Something Still the Matter with Kansas: Thomas Frank and a Sinking Society

Thomas Frank is the kind of writer who gets trotted out when the national media wants to cast its distracted gaze on the hinterlands.  It helped that he wrote a book a decade and more back about his home state titled What’s the Matter with Kansas? After the 2016 election a whole lot of pundits […]