Your audiobook is waiting…

Storm Lake

A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper
Narrated by: Chris Henry Coffey
Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

 "A reminder that even the smallest newspapers can hold the most powerful among us accountable.... Cullen and his brother are heroic figures." (The New York Times Book Review) 

From a 2017 Pulitzer-winning newspaperman, an unsentimental ode to America's heartland as seen in small-town Iowa - a story of reinvention and resilience, environmental and economic struggle, and surprising diversity and hope.

When The Storm Lake Times, a tiny Iowa twice-weekly, won a Pulitzer Prize for taking on big corporate agri-industry for poisoning the local rivers and lake, it was a coup on many counts: a strike for the well-being of a rural community; a triumph for that endangered species, a family-run rural news weekly; and a salute to the special talents of a fierce and formidable native son, Art Cullen. 

In this candid and timely audiobook, Cullen describes how the rural prairies have changed dramatically over his career, as seen from the vantage point of a farming and meatpacking town of 15,000 in Northwest Iowa. Politics, agriculture, the environment, and immigration are all themes in Storm Lake, a chronicle of a resilient newspaper, as much a survivor as its town. 

Storm Lake's people are the audiobook's heart: the family that swam the Mekong River to find Storm Lake; the Latina with a baby who wonders if she'll be deported from the only home she has known; the farmer who watches markets in real time and tries to manage within a relentless agriculture supply chain that seeks efficiency for cheaper pork, prepared foods, and ethanol. Storm Lake may be a community in flux, occasionally in crisis (farming isn't for the fainthearted), but one that's not disappearing - in fact, its population is growing with immigrants from Laos, Mexico, and elsewhere. Thirty languages are now spoken there, and soccer is more popular than football.

Iowa plays an outsize role in national politics. Iowa introduced Barack Obama and voted bigly for Donald Trump. Is the state leaning blue, red, or purple in the lead-up to 2020? Is it a bellwether for America? A nostalgic mirage from The Music Man or a harbinger of America's future? Cullen's answer is complicated and honest - but with optimism and the stubbornness that is still the state's, and his, dominant quality.

©2018 Art Cullen (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Cullen’s book demonstrates the important role that local editors play in standing up and speaking to power in America.... Storm Lake is an engaging, folksy read about how a small-town newspaper editor copes with existential threats to a way of life and an industry vital to American democracy in a state known for its extremes of weather, economics, and politics. [Cullen] tells good stories and writes with a journalistic flair that prefers punch to polish.... The pages of Storm Lake clearly demonstrate why Cullen won journalism’s most revered prize." (The National Book Review)

"With a self-effacing, homespun honesty...Cullen makes an eloquent case that community newspapers are integral to the fabric of small towns..[and] that diversity is keeping Storm Lake alive. Many Latino, Laotian, and Vietnamese families work in the packinghouses. Cullen argues that these families have thrown a much-needed life preserver to Storm Lake’s economy." (StarTribune)

“[A] memoir that gracefully illuminates the challenges facing the American heartland. Composed of political history, tales of civic controversies, and human interest stories, the subject matter is elevated by Cullen’s passion into parables relevant to all Americans...a window into small-town America.” (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    11
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

More than a story about people

We have “raped” our mother. And while self-correcting, she is not happy and will extract a price for our greed. That debt, I fear, will take thousands of years to pay - if ever.