Rust Belt Boy: Stories of an American Childhood with Paul Hertneky
Just like the mill towns of New England that preceded them, the steel towns of the Rust Belt have set loose a diaspora that spreads across the country. Rust Belt Boy: Stories of an American Childhood portrays a moment in time: the last gasp of the industrial north where European immigrants had raised families and built communities and cities, but saw the end of their way of life looming on the horizon. Approximately six million baby boomers, like the narrator, fled the Rust Belt. Another six million remained. Through Hertneky’s vivid storytelling, we can smell his Czechoslovakian grandmother’s cooking, see the streets lined with saloons, hear the backroom politicos’ deal-making at a local restaurant, and feel the aspirations of a generation. Over twenty-five years, Paul Hertneky has written stories, essays, and scripts for the Boston Globe, Athens News, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, New Hampshire Union Leader, NBC News, The Comedy Channel, Gourmet, Eating Well, Traveler’s Tales, The Exquisite Corpse, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, Adbusters and many more. His work centers on culture, food, industry, the environment, and travel, winning him a Solas Award, and two James Beard Award nominations. A graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars, he serves on the faculty of Chatham University. Free and open to all.