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Heartland by Sarah Smarsh

DCCC's College Wide Reading book, 2024-2025

About the book

Heartland, by Sarah Smarsh, book cover

Smarsh was born a fifth-generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side, the child of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side. In HEARTLAND, she introduces readers to a compelling cast of characters from her own family—grandmothers who act as second mothers, farmers who work themselves to the bone, builders who can’t afford their own homes, children who move from school to school.

Smarsh maps their lives against the destruction of the working class wrought by public policy: the demise of the family farm, the dismantling of public health care, the defunding of public schools, wages so stagnant that full-time laborers could no longer pay the bills. Readers will learn what Smarsh did: Working hard in this country probably won’t get you ahead after all.

About the author

Sarah Smarsh is a journalist who has reported for the New York Times, Harper’s, the Guardian, and many other publications.   More...


College Wide Reading Program

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