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Post Empire

Frances McDormand in Nomadland (courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)

Empire, Nevada, “felt like a town suspended in the 1950s, as if the postwar economy had never ended,” writes Jessica Bruder in her nonfiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century. The small mining town consisted of four main roads, lined with homes populated by the workers of United States Gypsum, the manufacturer of Sheetrock. Subsidized rents were as low as $250 a month, the company covered TV and internet and, as one resident told Bruder, there were “no gangs, no sirens, no violence.” But economic forces caught up with Empire. In 2011, U.S. Gypsum, a company with a […]

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