Kansas City Writer's Reflection On His Youth Inspires New Ideas About Being 'Midwestern'

Woodstock, Ill. might have changed since Bill Tammeus lived there, but to the former newspaper columnist, it's still quintessentially Midwestern.
Credit Teemu008 / Creative Commons, Flickr

Former Kansas City Star columnist Bill Tammeus, who still blogs for the paper, recently released a memoir titled Woodstock: A Story of Middle Americans.

It's about his boyhood in the Illinois town of Woodstock, in the middle of the 20th century. Through critical reflection on his early experiences and observations, Tammeus arrives at a handful of truisms about life in the Midwest, offered without sentimentality or rose-colored glasses, but with measured fondness.

On Thursday's Central Standard, host Gina Kaufmann chatted with Tammeus about his life, and about Midwestern identity more broadly.

We also revealed listeners' responses to our Tell KCUR challenge of the week: to capture what it means to be Midwestern in 5 words or less.


  • Bill Tammeus, author, Woodstock: A Story of Middle Americans