How Meth Attacked Small-Town America


In Nick Reding's Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town, a former meatpacker turned small-time methamphetamine cook in Oelwein, Iowa blew up his house and melted off most of his face. The drug's most novel aspect was its clientele, says a review in the Washington Monthly: the same predominantly white small-town residents who had watched the urban depredations of crack cocaine from afar told themselves that they weren't that kind of people.

Reding pushes the big-think conceit of Methland a bit too far, drawing strained parallels between Mexican drug cartels and American pharmaceutical companies, says reviewer Charles Homans. The real meaning of meth, says Homans, “is that capitalism, for better or worse, is a destructive force, and woefully unforgiving of those who don't adapt.”

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