I am grateful to Tammy Nemeth from H-Energy for agreeing to step in as reviews editor, and humbled by Mariel Isaacson’s thorough and insightful critique. Beyond Rust came out during a moment of transition; some of the underlying tensions that I tried to historicize in the book, between the core and periphery, and between those who have thrived in the post-industrial economy and those who have faltered, have subsequently come to play a pivotal role in driving our national politics. Allegheny County appeared as an island of blue in the 2016 presidential election map surrounded by a sea of red as the rest of the region cast their lot with a Republican candidate who promised that the “betrayal” of workers by “the people who rigged the system for their benefit” was at an end. “We can turn it all around,” Donald Trump concluded during a speech in Monessen, Pennsylvania, “and we can turn it around fast.” Upon delivering on his promise to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, President Trump again rhetorically cast his lot with those left behind by deindustrialization, declaring he “was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris.” The immediate response from the city’s chief executive, Democrat Bill Peduto, that “as the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future,” drives home the opening sentence of Isaacson’s review. Here Trump really didn’t mean the city at all, but rather both nostalgia for the historical Pittsburgh of smoke and manufacturing, and the present-day realities of Homestead, Weirton, Wheeling, Steubenville and other struggling communities in the rest of the metropolitan region. It is in these communities where Trump’s message resonated, if for no other reason than his acknowledgement both of the suffering many residents felt, and their frustration with a new Pittsburgh of bike lanes and tech jobs and hip brew pubs that seemed to provide little for them.
In this regard, today’s regional dynamic has both similarities and differences with the Pittsburgh Renaissance of the 1950s, as Isaacson notes. At the time, the region’s commercial and political elite had different goals for the city, a need to remake the downtown as a pleasant location for white collar workers to work and play, than for the satellite communities where heavy industries were to be able to pursue corporate profits at virtually any cost to the environment. Today it is less clear what role, if any, the broader region is expected to play in the city’s transformation. To some extent, the dynamics of urban growth promise at least some spillover into areas adjacent to the city – the recent opening in Braddock of a highly anticipated restaurant by one of Pittsburgh’s premier chefs is a good example – but the hollowing out of the urban core over many decades has left such a surplus of cheap, developable space that it is hard to imagine real estate pressure spilling over the city limits for many years to come. With no silver bullet, smaller deindustrialized communities further afield continue their long, slow slog toward sustainability in both population and economic base. While I was able to illuminate the possibilities and pitfalls for recreating the model of post-industrial Pittsburgh in these smaller communities, I regret not having the time in the typical last minute rush of publication to make explicit comparisons to other metropolitan areas. Happily, I can now recommend my friend Tracy Neumann’s excellent new monograph that does just that by locating the Pittsburgh Renaissance within a broader North American context of post-industrial urban renewal.
On a final note, I was pleased at the space Isaacson devoted in her review to the story of Pittsburgh’s rural periphery and her closing remarks about “the importance of better understanding the political and economic interests of rural industrial workers after November 2016.” The Steel City’s rise to dominance in the late nineteenth century came about in large part due to the ability of industrialists to link the capital of the urban core to the natural resources of the countryside. While there were winners and losers in this process, many formerly isolated hamlets prospered through their connections to regional transportation systems, attracting new residents and offering the possibility that the children of existing residents would not have to move elsewhere to find work. The beginning of the natural gas boom, with which I ended the book, seems a story consistent with the region’s history and the desires of many residents for good paying industrial jobs. However, 2017 is not 1917 or even 1967, and it remains to be seen how a new generation will reconcile the broader social and environmental costs of a fossil-fueled economy with the, perhaps, competing pledge of Pittsburgh’s mayor to “increase our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice.”
 “Full Transcript: Donald Trump's Jobs Plan Speech,” Politico, June 28, 2016, http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/full-transcript-trump-job-plan-speech-224891
 For a longer analysis of the meaning of this quote in the context of metropolitan Pittsburgh, see Allen Dieterich-Ward, “Pittsburgh: A City of Two Post-Industrial Tales,” The Conversation, June 6, 2017, https://theconversation.com/pittsburgh-a-city-of-two-post-industrial-tales-78877
 Bill Peduto (@billpeduto), “As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future,” https://twitter.com/billpeduto/status/870370288344674304?lang=en, June 1, 2017, 1:03 PM. Tweet.
 Amy McKeever, “Superior Motors Was Supposed to Revive This Pennsylvania Town. So What Happened?” https://www.eater.com/2017/6/1/15713614/superior-motors-kevin-sousa-braddock-pennsylvania-opening-delay
 Tracy Neumann, Remaking the Rust Belt: The Postindustrial Transformation of North America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).
 Adam Smeltz, “Mayor Peduto Slams Trump for Name-Dropping Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 1, 2017, http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2017/06/01/Peduto-counters-Trump-s-Pittsburgh-reference-in-climate-announcement/stories/201706010202