How the Pickup Truck Carried the American South Into the Future

From 'Rusty Rattletraps' to 'Big Black Jacked-Up' Rides, the Iconic Vehicles Symbolize Blue-Collar Identity While Flaunting Bourgeois Prosperity

The pickup truck’s rise from its crude, makeshift origins to the almost luxury-item status it enjoys today amounts to a Horatio Alger tale with a technological twist, providing a striking allegory of cherished national legends of progress and upward mobility.

In the early 20th century, a number of Americans, seeking a more expeditious means of hauling material that could not be crammed into or strapped atop the traditional motorcar, took their tinsnips to the family flivver, affixing a large box or old wagon bed to the rear of the chassis. …

More In: rural

Want to Preserve American Small Towns? Embrace Immigrants.

From New York to Iowa, Foreign-Born Residents and Their Families Are Helping to Reinvigorate Rural Communities

Once upon a time the pulse of America beat in its small towns. They were where you took your crops to market, met the trains that brought visits from Aunt …

How the Politics of Resentment Corrupted Wisconsin’s Culture of Nice

Savvy Candidates Spent the Last Decade Pitting Rural Voters Against City Folks

The April 5 presidential primaries in Wisconsin are expected to be close in both parties, and critical to deciding the Republican contest between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. And the …

California on My Mind in the Shadow of the Great Wall

The Ballad of a Man Who Put Down Roots in a Chinese Village and Rediscovered the Hardscrabble California He Had Left

If my life so far could be said to have one truly transformative moment, I think it was the intense meeting in early spring 2006 in the village hall after …

More Poultry, More Problems

Christopher Leonard Says Your Chicken McNuggets Are Bankrupting Rural America

Waldron, Arkansas is in the middle of nowhere. But because it’s home to a Tyson Foods poultry plant that processes 1 million birds a week, it’s also ground zero for …