Research Scholar

Trying to survive on the richest farmland in America has produced some of the nation’s poorest people.  Yet, this book argues, as pertains to rural poverty, the usual criteria don’t always apply, the known predictors of poverty don’t necessarily hold up –and rural people instinctively know how to save themselves again and again, because they know no one else will.


Hard Living in America’s Heartland also refutes the common image of the poor as lazy slackers who don’t want to work.  In reality, the rural heartland is populated by fiercely independent, politically astute, extremely hard-working men and women who possess a wide array of useful skills – and who struggle year over year to stay afloat in small-town economies that rise and fall on the whims of remote farm policy decisions, a volatile world-wide marketplace, and Mother Nature.


Included are maps of the 12 Midwestern states identifying the pockets of deepest rural poverty; a select
bibliography; chapter end notes; an index; and appendices describing the methodological approach used to write this book; profiles of the rural areas of the 12 Midwestern states; and available Medicaid indigent health care services to the rural poor.           


HARD LIVING IN AMERICA'S HEARTLAND: Rural Poverty in the 21st Century Midwest is a  2015 PINNACLE BOOK ACHIEVEMENT AWARD winner 



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WOMEN AND POVERTY IN 21st CENTURY AMERICA has received the Council for Wisconsin Writers 2012 Kenneth Kingery/August Derleth Non-fiction Book Award and the 2012 Independent Publishers and University Presses non-fiction Book of the Year Gold Medal for women’s issues

By pointing out that, in a free society, inequality, greed, and moral failures allow for the unrestrained pursuit of wealth, this work shows that America has created a vast poverty problem that makes the rich richer and forces poor women into the forgotten class.

WOMEN IN POVERTY IN 21st CENTURY AMERICA

A feminist perspective on the 21st century war on poverty presented through the words of women forced to live daily with welfare policies they had no voice in developing. 


Dáil presents compelling arguments in support of inequality and profit-motive capitalism being the root causes of America's poverty problem and that the welfare policies established during the 1990s are based upon a business model that is foremost concerned with the bottom line; arose from a political agenda driven by men who never had to choose between paying the rent and feeding their kids; are designed to protect the popular programs that ensure the re-election of career politicians, and do little to help the poor themselves.



NONFICTION WRITING

REVIEWS FOR WOMEN AND POVERTY IN 21st CENTURY AMERICA


"WOMEN AND POVERTY IN 21st CENTURY AMERICA is a well-documented study of contemporary women’s social conditions. Interviews are very well done. The book will strike readers’ emotions with its caring representation of
women’s dramas and suffering and presents a good blend of interviews with women-in-need and relevant info about government reforms." 

          - Reference and Research Book News

 

"Here is a thoroughly researched and well-balanced look at the largely ignored, downtrodden women of America. Author Dáilbrings expertise, compassion and hope to a sad situation. She explores the highly difficult lives that poor women lead. This is a book with great heart." 

          - Jim Barnes, Executive Director, Independent Publishers Association

 

"Great Addition to the poverty Literature. Highly recommend." 

          - Choice

 

"The poor are always with us." So goes the saying, and so goes the way most of us think about poverty - that is, if we think about it at all. Reading this book changed my fundamental perceptions and perspectives on the poor, especially poor women. Dáil humanizes the concept of "the poor" by showing us individual women who live poor in 21st century America. In showing us their stories without judgment, but with plenty of context, she brings the grinding realities of daily life home to those of us fortunate enough not to be poor. 

By meticulously laying out the legislative and political frameworks of how poverty is seen and handled in America today she [Dáil] shows us both what's wrong with current approaches and how they might improve. She inspires readers to both care about the nameless poor and speak up, politically and personally, on their behalf. Finally, she offers hope that with enough of a paradigm shift in both attitude and approach, "the poor" might not always be with us."

          - Harriet Brown, Judge, Council for Wisconsin Writers 2012 non-fiction book award reviewer and, Assistant

            professor of magazine journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse, New York


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​​HARD LIVING IN AMERICA'S HEARTLAND:

Rural Poverty in the 21st Century Midwest


“Sometimes I feel like a jackass in a hailstorm – I just have to stand here and take it…but what the hell – it’ll stop hailing sooner or later.”

 - Struggling farmer on the Great Plains of the American Midwest


Tirelessly optimistic in the face of sometimes unspeakable difficulties that come with trying to survive when Mother Nature is your fickle, wildly unpredictable business partner, he possesses an unwavering belief that things will get better next year.

Chapters include:
·  Poverty in the Rural Midwest – If You Can Find It 

·  We Ain’t Got Much, but We Sure Have Plenty – Understanding Rural Poverty When the Usual Criteria Don’t Apply

·  Living off the Land – A Brief History of Rural Midwestern America

·  America’s Heartland – Living in the Midwestern Farm States

·  Feeding Candy to the Cows – The Rural Midwestern Farm Economy

·  Get Big or Get Out – Rural America Moves into the 21st Century

·  Throwing Cow Chips for Entertainment – The Pluses and Minuses of Rural Community Life

·  Poverty Makes You Sick – The Rural Healthcare Problem

·  One Cop Towns – Rural Crime and Punishment

·  Go to School or Go to Work? Is Formal Education the Answer?

·  The Invisible Poor



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Kathy, Mary and Andrea are among the eight women farmers in this book whose lives embody the unrelenting pioneer spirit that built America and remains alive today in the barnyards of the 295,000 women who own nearly half the nation's farmland.  These women are major players in an agricultural enterprise that, traditionally, has belonged to men. They are assuming lead roles in a complex food drama that begins with planting a seed in the dirt and ends on a plate.  Smart, hard-working, tough as nails, politically astute and remarkably self-sufficient, these women farmers persevere despite always unpredictable weather and endlessly erratic commodities markets.  As Mother Nature's daughters, they carry on the proud legacy only women who work the land can claim.   






  



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Mother Nature's Daughters:

21st Century Women Farmers


Winner of the 2016 Council of Wisconsin Writers Norbert Blei/August Derleth

Non-fiction Book of the Year Award

This invaluable book almost had me considering selling my home and finding land to farm. The portraits are particularly engaging!

Leila Levinson, Austin, TX, CWW 2016 Judge


Published by McFarland and Company

​                       www.mcfarlandpub.com


​"Sure farming is hard work, but so are a lot of other things," crop farmer Kathy Nickel says.  "Farming is all I ever wanted to do, explains Mary Dunn, who raises Brown Swiss baby bull calves while confined to a wheelchair.  "It'll be women who save the food system, and it will happen one woman farmer at a time, so I have to keep trying," Andrea Hazzard replies when asked why she keeps farming when she's not making any money.

 

Chapters include:

·  Hustling Backwards: 21st Century Poverty as It Affects American Women 

·  How Hard Hard Gets: The Struggles of Daily Life on the Bottom Rung of the Economic Ladder

·  A Man Is Not the Answer: Women and Crime

·  The Poor Get Sicker and the Sick Get Poor

·  Arithmetic or Ovaries: Poverty and Women’s Educational Achievement

·  Last Stop on the Bus Line: The Working Life of Poor Women

·  She Ain’t Heavy – She’s My Sister: Political Will, Greed and Moral Obligation in a Free Society