The Inland Ground

An Evocation of the American Middle West Revised Edition


Richard Rhodes

The Inland Ground is Richard Rhodes's first book. It was published quietly in 1970 to critical acclaim (The New York Times Book Review named it one of the best books of the year) but few sales. In the two decades that followed, Rhodes published ten more books, including A Hole in the World, Farm, and The Making of the Atomic Bomb, for which he won the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.

Yet, Rhodes contends, some of his best writing is collected here, in The Inland Ground, sixteen essays that evoke the Middle West, on topics that range from coyote hunting to the Mayo Clinic. For this updated edition Rhodes has chosen the twelve best of his early pieces, combined them with four new essays, and added a spare, forceful preface.

“Very early on you are convinced that the author is in love with the land he is writing about, and that he is a real writer. The mysteries of this Inland Ground are teasingly hinted at and sometimes brilliantly illuminated (as in poetically rendered essays on hog-butchering, on wheat-growing, on the Writers’ Workshop in Iowa). Mr. Rhodes has the skill and the love of language as well as of the land to bring it to our attention and our understanding.

—New York Times Book Review

“Richard Rhodes’ Middle West is a sweep of the American earth from the St. Louis arch to the eastern border of Colorado. On the subjects of wheat, coyote hunting, hog butchering, Truman, and Eisenhower, Rhodes is poetic.

—Indiana Magazine of History
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About the Author

Richard Rhodes is author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Farm: A Year in the Life of an American Farmer, A Hole in the World: An American Boyhood, and The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb.

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