A hilarious, sometimes touching tribute to an endangered American town under constant siege from the modern world
Bill Kauffman is a new addition to the American chorus of small-town voices. Think Garrison Keillor for 2003; Thornton Wilder, thornier and wilder; Mark Twain in a world gone Wal-Mart. Now, without the slightest nod to etiquette, discretion, or political correctness, Kauffman uses his beloved but beleaguered hometown of Batavia, New York, to assess the state of small-town life in these big-city times.
Kauffman, a self-proclaimed "placeist" who believes that things urban are homogenizing our national scene, returned to his roots after a bumpy ride on the D.C. fast track. Rarely has he ventured forth since. Here he illuminates the place he loves, traveling from Batavia's scenic vistas to the very seams of its grimy semi-industrial pockets, from its architecturally insignificant new mall to the pastoral grounds of its internationally known School for the Blind. Not one to shy from controversy, Kauffman also investigates his town's efforts to devastate its landmarks through urban renewal, the passions simmering inside its clogged political machinery, and the sagging fortunes of its baseball heroes, the legendary Muckdogs.
Kauffman has created a truly memorable book about American community-with lots of hilarity and lots of heart.