Phil Christman is the author of the new book Midwest Futures – a collection of interconnected essays about the Midwest. The book expands on Christman’s 2017 essay for The Hedgehog Review On Being Midwestern: The Burden of Normality. Both the essay and book start with a dissection of writing cliches about the Midwest as a way to begin unravelling how the region developed, what it means to live here, and what the area could become.
Our conversation (much like the book) cruises around a lot of different topics. We talk about “Midwestern” as an idea – touching on history, politics, race, literature, and even the current pandemic. We end with some of Christman’s favorite Midwest books and authors, plus what he’s been reading lately.
Books and authors cited in the episode
Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher
William H. Gass
The Last Children of Mill Creek by Vivian Gibson
Rust Belt Femme by Raechel Anne Jolie
Draft no. 4 by John McPhee
Wagnerism by Alex Ross
The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
The Origins of the Urban Crisis by Thomas Sugrue