The Routledge History of Rural America  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge History of Rural America

ISBN 9781138482890
Published January 24, 2018 by Routledge
424 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

The Routledge History of Rural America charts the course of rural life in the United States, raising questions about what makes a place rural and how rural places have shaped the history of the nation. Bringing together leading scholars to analyze a wide array of themes in rural history and culture, this text is a state-of-the-art resource for students, scholars, and educators at all levels. This Routledge History provides a regional context for understanding change in rural communities across America and examines a number of areas where the history of rural people has deviated from the American mainstream. Readers will come away with an enhanced understanding of the interplay between urban and rural areas, a knowledge of the regional differences within the rural United States, and an awareness of the importance of agriculture and rural life to American society.

The book is divided into four main sections: regions of rural America, rural lives in context, change and development, and resources for scholars and teachers. Examining the essays on the regions of rural America, readers can discover what makes New England different from the South, and why the Midwest and Mountain West are quite different places. The chapters on rural lives provide an entrée into the social and cultural history of rural peoples – women, children and men – as well as a description of some of the forces shaping rural communities, such as immigration, race and religious difference. Chapters on change and development examine the forces molding the countryside, such as rural-urban tensions, technological change and increasing globalization. The final section will help scholars and educators integrate rural history into their research, writing, and classrooms. By breaking the field of rural history into so many pieces, this volume adds depth and complexity to the history of the United States, shedding light on an understudied aspect of the American mythology and beliefs about the American dream.

Table of Contents


Part I: Regions of Rural America

1. Northeast

2. Mid-Atlantic

3. Deep South

4. Midwest

5. Great Plains

6. Intermountain West

7. Pacific Coast

Part II: Rural Lives in Context

8. Rural Women

9. Rural Childhood and Youth

10. Masculinity in a Rural Context

11. Education

12. Ethnicity

13. Race

14. Communal Societies

15. Anabaptist Communities

Part III: Change and Development

16. Rural/Urban Tensions

17. Rural Depopulation

18. Technological Change

19. Rural Environment

20. Rural Labor

21. The International Context for Rural America

Part IV: Resources for Scholars and Teachers

22. Sources for the Researcher

23. Teaching Rural History in an Urban Age

24. Reading Rural Structures and Landscapes

Suggested Reading

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Pamela Riney-Kehrberg is Professor of History at Iowa State University and Past President of the Agricultural History Society.


Twenty-seven chapters by some of the leading scholars in the field make The Routledge History of Rural America essential reading for teachers eager to broaden and enrich their courses, and for students seeking a first-class introduction to the rural history of America's regions, rural social history, and the rural economy.  

David Danbom, author of Born in the Country: A History of Rural America

In this important volume, some of the leading historians of rural America examine the regional, cultural, and economic diversity of the nation’s countryside. With essays on researching and teaching rural history and an extensive suggested reading list, the collection is a must for researchers, teachers, and students of rural history.

Katherine Jellison, author of Entitled to Power: Farm Women and Technology, 1913-1963

Editor Pamela Riney-Kehrberg opens this volume with a simple question: what is rural America? Twenty-five scholars provide surprisingly complex answers, shedding fresh light on regional differences in rural America, relationships between rural and urban communities, the diversity of rural cultures, and the ways that economic shifts, technological development, and globalization have shaped rural development. An essential resource for anyone seeking to understand the history of the United States.

Melissa Walker, author of Southern Farmers and Their Stories: Memory and Meaning in Oral History