“Where is the Rust Belt?”

Literary agents and publishers in New York asked me that question for years. Well, they sure as hell know where it is now!


Every day I read yet another analysis of why voters in the Rust Belt voted the way they did. I have been invited to join the fray, but I think the reasons are too many and varied for me to identify without more reflection. It’s noisy out there in media-land and one more voice isn’t going to make much of a difference.

Maybe those who really want to know what happened can add my book to their reading list, leavening the circumstances described in the bestselling Hillbilly Elegy. If that book, my book, and this election woke Americans up to the tragedy the nation ignored for decades and the resurgence taking place in isolated spots, most of them urban, throughout the region, then we may be seeing a turning tide. Either that, or we’re seeing the brief glare of the lights and cameras, another set of headlines, another miniseries in the fleeting attention of national audiences.

And maybe that’s okay. Folks in the Rust Belt and elsewhere can simply go back to work, if they can find some.

By the way, RUST BELT BOY, the book or audiobook, makes a great Christmas gift for the boys and girls who grew up in mill towns all over the U.S. — as well as for their sons and daughters. Order today from direct from Bauhan Publishing or from Amazon.

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