Gregory Kirschling
June 18, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Somewhere In America

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Mark Singer
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it a B+

For 30 years, Singer’s been an MVP at ”The New Yorker”, where he’s currently searching the country for superslices of Americana. That’s two decades longer than the plucky high school journalists of Itasca, Tex., have been producing the town’s sole newspaper, ”Paw Print Press”, but not as long as the near half century that Joe’s Diner in Lee, Mass., stayed open around the clock before Joe retired his spatula in 2001. Other ace highlights from his new collection: a nudist-beach kerfuffle, a campaign by insecure North Dakotans to change the state’s name to Dakota, and the legend of ”a racist town where no African American…would want to be caught after dark.” These golden nuggets make up for a few dispatches that ribbit instead of rivet.

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