- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Beltby David Giffels
Synopses & Reviews
Award-winning author and journalist David Giffels explores the meaning of identity and place, hamburgers, hard work, and basketball in this collection of wry, irreverent essays reflecting on the many aspects of Midwestern culture and life from an insider’s perspective.
The Industrial Midwest built modern America, thrived for almost a century, then profoundly collapsed. But for cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Akron, a devoted tract of the population remains in the Rust Belt, committed to celebrating its singular Midwest culture and carrying it forward. David Giffels was born in Akron in the 1960s, as the golden age was ending, and has lived there ever since. Now he plumbs the touchstones and idiosyncrasies of a region where industry has fallen, bowling is a legitimate profession, extreme weather is the norm, thrift store culture dominates, and sports is heartbreak in a rarely told story of a unique American generation whose deep regional pride was born of economic failure and hardship. The Hard Way on Purpose is the story from the inside, written by someone who never left, about the life that goes on there and what it means.
Intelligent, humorous, and warm, Giffels’s collection of linked essays is about coming of age in the Midwest, and the stubborn, optimistic, proud, and resourceful people who thrive there.
"A native Ohioan who's always lived in his home town of Akron, Giffels — an English professor and author of three books — has a unique perspective on Midwestern history. His latest book is a collection of articles written on the distinctive culture of adversity and loss experienced by those in the Midwest who have seen everything taken from them, from their factory jobs to their rock bands and even their sports icons. Giffels treats all these things with equal gravitas, an approach that lends itself both to his signature dry humor and to a heartfelt analysis of what drives his neighbors to continue. We follow Giffels in a roughly chronological journey through his life, beginning with his school days and ending with his son's first attempt at driving. Along the way Giffels riffs on varying subjects like the origin of hamburgers, his own poetry, and bowling's vital importance to the Rust Belt, in abrupt asides that are sometimes in desperate need of segues. Regardless, the portrait painted here is an honest and revealing one, illuminating the cultural factors that have given a strange, shadowy sort of hope to millions of Americans." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In The Hard Way on Purpose, David Giffels takes us on an insider’s journey through the wreckage and resurgence of America’s Rust Belt. A native who never knew the good times, yet never abandoned his hometown of Akron, Giffels plumbs the touchstones and idiosyncrasies of a region where industry has fallen, bowling is a legitimate profession, bizarre weather is the norm, rock ’n’ roll is desperate, thrift store culture thrives, and sports is heartbreak. Intelligent, humorous, and warm, Giffels’s linked essays are about coming of age in the Midwest and about the stubborn, optimistic, and resourceful people who prevail there.
About the Author
David Giffels is an assistant professor of English at the University of Akron, where he teaches creative nonfiction in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program. His most recent book, All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House, received widespread acclaim. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Grantland, Redbook, and many other publications. Giffels was a columnist and feature writer for the Akron Beacon Journal from 1994 to 2008. He was also a writer for MTV’s Beavis and Butt-Head. Giffels’s recent awards include the Cleveland Arts Prize for literature, the Ohioana Book Award, and the AP’s “Best News Writer in Ohio” award. He lives in Akron, Ohio, with his wife and two children.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like
Biography » General