• Storm Lake

  • A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper
  • By: Art Cullen
  • Narrated by: Chris Henry Coffey
  • Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (38 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"A reminder that even the smallest newspapers can hold the most powerful among us accountable." (The New York Times Book Review) 

Iowa plays an outsize role in national politics. Iowa introduced Barack Obama and voted bigly for Donald Trump. But is it a bellwether for America, a harbinger of its future? Art Cullen’s answer is complicated and honest. 

In truth, Iowa is losing ground. The Trump trade wars are hammering farmers and manufacturers. Health insurance premiums and drug prices are soaring. That’s what Iowans are dealing with, and the problems they face are the problems of the heartland. 

In this candid and timely audiobook, Art Cullen - the Storm Lake Times newspaperman who won a Pulitzer Prize for taking on big corporate agri-industry and its poisoning of local rivers - describes how the heartland has changed dramatically over his career. In a story where politics, agri­culture, the environment, and immigration all converge, Cullen offers an unsentimental ode to rural America and to the resilient people of a vibrant community of 15,000 in Northwest Iowa, as much survivors as their town. 

©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 listeners say about Storm Lake

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A great story.

Art showed so much respect and honesty as he described a cast of characters that make up any rural community. He has a great objectivity and understanding of the twists, turns, and motivations behind the history and journeys of all the people.
So enjoyable!!!

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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.