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Small-Town America by Robert Wuthnow

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You Have to Deal with Everybody

The Inhabitants of Small Towns

BRIAN PARKER LIVES IN A rambling two-story house built in the 1920s. Out back there is a badly weathered garage that doubles as a storage shed, and to the south of that is a large garden with rows of overripe tomatoes and zucchini. Mr. Parker farms several acres of rented land a few miles from town, and he and his wife, Laverne, operate a small hardware store that serves the local population of four hundred. They are plain-spoken people who have a lot to say about living in a small place, if one is willing to listen.

When the Parkers moved here twenty-five years ago, the community was almost 50 percent larger than it is today. Farms in the area have become larger in acreage ...

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