The Story of a Country Town is both a pioneering triumph of realistic fiction and a landmark in the development of American literature. Written at night after a hard day’s work as editor and publisher of an evening newspaper in Aitchison, Kansas, this novel represents a retreat from the nineteenth-century romantic image of rural life in the American Midwest. Edgar Watson Howe’s portrait of a small town, the fictional Twin Mounds, is a damning indictment of an environment that cripples the mind and corrodes the spirit. His view of village and farm is colored by a sense of harsh pessimism and filled with a pervading sense of lost opportunities. The Story of a Country Town marks the moment the myth of small-town America gave way to the wasteland of broken dreams.
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