The Points Interview: Nick Reding

One of the facts of life for a historian of drugs in the modern United States is that you’ll frequently be asked if you’ve read the latest best-seller on contemporary drug issues.  That was certainly the case when the subject of Points Interview number ten–Nick Reding’s Methland (Bloomsbury, 2009)–first appeared on the best-seller lists.  A new paperback edition of the book was released May 25, and we’re able to mark the occasion with the Points Interview.

Describe your book in terms your mother (or the average mother-in-the-street) could understand. 

Methland is about three years in the life of a small Iowa town with a bad methamphetamine problem. To tell the story, it follows the lives of the mayor, the town doctor, the prosecutor, a meth addict, and a trafficker. It’s about where the meth comes from and what it does, but it’s also about the way the town fights back, along with the personal ups and downs of the principal characters.

What do you think a bunch of drug and alcohol historians might find particularly interesting about your book? 

One thing people talk to me about a lot is the book’s emphasis on larger social and economic vectors as prime movers in the characters’ addictions as they’re portrayed in Methland. This wouldn’t be any news to drug and alcohol historians. But what might be of interest is the origin of these vectors as they pertain to the town of Oelwein, Iowa, which are largely changes in the American food production business, the pharmaceutical industry, and immigration patterns.

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