This is an important but frustrating book. The book successfully, in my view, counters a number of assumptions and arguments about decline in the Midwest, but it is unlikely to be widely read, not because it goes against the prevailing grain, but because it often reads like a compilation of statistics. I appreciate that for issue after issue, he begins his argument, countering the prevailing declension model, with a statement to the effect that the issue is more complicated than those who espouse that model assume, and that, to understand it, you have to understand the longer-term history of the region. So, in fact, a surprisingly high proportion of this book, ostensibly about the years "since the 1950s," is about the years BEFORE the 1950s, especially settlement patterns. Unfortunately, in both cases, the statistics and the pre-history, Wuthnow never does enough to explicitly connect the data or the history to the case he wants to make about the post-1950 history, so his case is not as effective as I think it could be.
eBook Remaking the Heartland