Proving that small-town America is not as quaint and charming as it’s perhaps believed to be, journalist Nick Reding lived on and off in Oelwein, Iowa, for four years to examine how the people of this once pleasant rural town had fallen prey to crystal meth, one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. In his award-winning 2009 bestseller Methland, he traces the town’s decline, in part, to the rise of corporate agriculture and the loss of stable union jobs that led to workers taking on extra shifts to make ends meet—the highly addictive drug helped them stay awake. Tonight, Reding discusses his tragic findings and what they say about America with New York Times columnist Sam Freedman.

Tue., June 29, 7 p.m., 2010