Exurbia Now: The Battleground of American Democracy (Hardcover)

Exurbia Now: The Battleground of American Democracy By David Masciotra Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days


“Focusing on greater Chicago, Masciotra argues that the exurbs, home to both monster trucks and liberals, are becoming a key political arena.” - New York Times Book Review

The suburbs have become too liberal and diverse for many white American conservatives, so “exurbia”—areas outside the cities and their suburbs—are becoming the staging ground for the radical right extremist insurgency . . .

Beyond a fanatical devotion to former president Donald Trump, one of the curious things that united the rank and file of the January 6 insurrectionist mob was that many of them were residents of one of America’s fastest growing residential areas: Exurbia.

Home to the likes of Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ohio’s Jim Jordan, big box retailers, chain restaurants, monster trucks, and megachurches, exurbia is becoming America’s greatest political battleground, more important to American politics than urban or rural America. 

In this brilliant work of political and cultural inquiry, veteran political journalist David Masciotra provides a definitive account of what exurbia is, how it came to be, and how it's transforming American life.  Zooming in outside the greater metropolitan area of Chicago—where Masciotra grew up—he shows how exurbia has become a safe space to fly the MAGA flag and romanticize the mores of the pre-civil rights, pre-feminist, pre-gay rights 1950s.

But, as Masciotra also shows, reactionary white flight is not the whole story of small-town America. The story often lost is the power and persistence of small-town liberals—people who believe in equality, celebrate diversity, and enroll in movements for justice. Exurbia, as it turns out, is ground zero for the fight over a democracy mightily beleaguered, yet still full of promise, and still worth fighting for. 

Combining interviews, research, and anecdote—and anchored in personal experience—Exurbia Now delivers a powerful ballad on the state of small-town America, and  provides a sense of the fight for democracy, on the ground, in the heartland.

About the Author

David Masciotra is the author of six books, including I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters and Mellencamp: American Troubadour. A journalist, political analyst, and arts critic, he has written for the New Republic, Salon, Progressive, Washington Monthly, No Depression, CounterPunch, CrimeReads, and many other publications about politics, literature, and music. He and his wife live in Indiana, where he teaches at Indiana University Northwest.

Praise For…

“Focusing on greater Chicago, Masciotra argues that the exurbs, home to both monster trucks and liberals, are becoming a key political arena.” - New York Times Book Review

“. . .nonpartisan and even semi-partisan readers should find their minds opened by journalist Masciotra's incisive, worry-making, and deeply humane book, which sits somewhere between an exposé and a long-form think piece.” - Shelf Awareness

well-reported, passionately argued” - Newcity Literature

"Cultural critic David Masciotra’s newest book Exurbia Now is a timely appraisal of an American political landscape marked by dangerous isolation...an urgent work of political analysis that treats small-town life as the center of the battle for American national identity." — Foreword Review

"Having been born and raised in exurbia, Masciorta brings his personal experience to his cogent and frightening analysis of the mindset that has taken hold in so many American small towns and rural communities, offering insight and a fresh perspective on the culture wars dividing the country. Highly recommended." — Booklist STARRED Review

"An incredibly absorbing, essential and personal portrait of our nation's growing political divide, Exurbia Now takes the reader on a rare, eye-opening journey through cultural upheavals on the outskirts of our cities. At once moving and disturbing, rarely has a book been so timely, and convincing." — Jeff Biggers, author of State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream

“Reading this book, it’s absolutely clear how the far right has managed to transform extant suburban fears of economic and social upheaval into conspiracy theories, paranoia, and authoritarian ideation. This is an enlightening and discomfiting look at how the place I spent much of my life in is becoming unrecognizable.” — Mike Rothschild, author of The Storm Is Upon Us

“David Masciotra delivers an introspective tour de force that lays bare the cultural and political underpinnings of exurbia. Exurbia Now is a history of places elite Democrats frequently misunderstand, an urgent reassessment of strategies that can win hearts and minds there, and a call to action for  liberals who love small towns and want to stay and fight.”  — David Faris, author of It’s Time to Fight Dirty

“An expressionistic ramble through the all-American countryside, out there beyond the cities and the suburbs, that brought us MAGA hats, megachurches and sedition—yet still offers hope, and the prospect of renewal. There is passion in David Masciotra’s writing, but not hate. He loves his country—just not blindly.” — John A. Farrell, author of Richard Nixon: The Life
Product Details
ISBN: 9781685890896
ISBN-10: 168589089X
Publisher: Melville House
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English