More than 59 million Americans live in rural areas. Yet most studies of social issues focus on urban problems. More than 94% of the 2.3 billion acres of land in the United States is classified as rural. Still, public discussions of the American economy frequently center on manufacturing, banking, housing and urban oriented service sectors. Where rural products figure in economic discussions, they are largely seen as commodities, like timber and foodstuffs, independent of the communities that produced them. This disparity in the attention that rural America receives from researchers played a large part in Gary Goreham coordinating the publication of the first "Encyclopedia of Rural America" (ABC–CLIO, 1997). This revision, like the original, examines the nature of rural communities in the United States and the social and economic problems facing them. The 301 scholarly essays explore social structures, economic activities, cultural practices, natural resources and government policies affecting rural areas. Thus, the scope includes agronomy, barns, cropping systems, foresters and miners as well as rural churches, electrification, tourism and stock car racing. Also described are the distinctions of crime, education, health care, marketing and social services in rural regions. With more than 70 new articles, this edition gives extra attention to emergency management, sustainable development, alternative energy and environmental issues. Bibliographies and many articles have been updated. However, there are no recent assessments of the penetration of the Internet, satellite television and other technologies into rural areas. Added features include a brief chronology, an appendix of color maps and a substantial selection of 18 essays examining varying visions of rural American and its prospects for the future. In short, this revised information tool provides an excellent starting place for those studying or serving rural populations.