Patrick Irelan knows the Middle West as well as anyone possibly could. As both a seasoned teacher and writer, he acquired first-hand knowledge of what it means to be Midwestern. Mr. Irelan has lived through all the region’s recent changes: he grew up on a small family farm, attended a one-room school, worked with crops and livestock, and had parents who worked for the once-great railroad and telegraph systems. He worked briefly in what other family members endured for decades—the many depressing changes in factory life. In addition, he studied and worked in the academic setting of the University of Iowa and participated in the many movements of the 1960’s. A Firefly in the Night is a sequel to his popular family memoir, Central Standard: A Time, A Place, A Family (Univ. of Iowa Press, 2002).