Hartsburg, Ohio, is a vintage rust-belt town on the wane; the factories and foundries are closed. And as the local cineplex gives way to yet another fundamentalist church, an ideological turf war has begun. Oppressed by a dominant culture hostile to her values, born-again Christian mom Bevy Baer decides to run for a spot on the school board. Her plucky door-to-door campaign finds trouble when it runs into Wallace Cormier. A failed Hollywood screenwriter who has returned to his hometown to raise his daughter and churn out an uninspired newspaper column, Cormier fears that he's gone soft. When Bevy knocks on his door, he decides to fight for his town and his beliefs. But has he jumped in over his head? Signs are posted, debates scheduled, sausage-making contests endured - and then big-time political advisers get involved. Soon Cormier and Bevy find themselves in a passionate, nationally televised, tooth-and-nail battle that leaves voters wondering which candidate, if either, is on the side of the angels. It's red versus blue, Christian versus atheist, and the future of the country - or at least of one town and two families - seems to hang in the balance. Hartsburg, USA is at once absurd and utterly believable, a portrait of people on both sides of the American political divide, their stark differences and common humanity.
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