At the Crossroads: Middle America and the Battle to Save the Car Industry

Overview

The U.S. auto industry has struck a brick wall. Can it get back on the road to recovery? At the Crossroads: Middle America and the Battle to Save the Car Industry argues that the Obama administration missed an historic opportunity in 2009 to launch a Manhattan Project-style effort to save not only Detroit, but invigorate the entire manufacturing base in Middle America.

Abe Aamidor and Ted Evanoff explain how Washington's intervention fell short and how it is holding back America...

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Overview

The U.S. auto industry has struck a brick wall. Can it get back on the road to recovery? At the Crossroads: Middle America and the Battle to Save the Car Industry argues that the Obama administration missed an historic opportunity in 2009 to launch a Manhattan Project-style effort to save not only Detroit, but invigorate the entire manufacturing base in Middle America.

Abe Aamidor and Ted Evanoff explain how Washington's intervention fell short and how it is holding back America economic recovery. The authors take a thoughtful look at the root causes behind the auto industry's crash, including disastrous labor contracts such as 1950's "Treaty of Detroit," which set the stage for crushing legacy costs; Wall Street's predatory financial practices ushered in under the Reagan administration; and a largely unregulated free trade regime that undermined the competitiveness of America manufacturing.

At The Crossroads tells the story of Detroits' collapse and a failed national industrial policy from the point of view of those most affected by it- the factory workers, small business owners, and mayors of small manufacturing towns like Kokomo, Marion, and Bedford in Indiana, the number two auto manufacturing state after Michigan and the number one manufacturing state overall based on a percentage of population. Washington could debate the pros and cons of a national industrial policy and an auto industry bailout ad nauseum, but it was the people in small towns in Middle America who would live or die by the policy decisions of their distant national leaders.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book is for those interested in a people-focused perspective of Detroit’s collapse. It will complement the deeper look into the turning points in U.S. auto industry history provided by Paul Ingrassia’s Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry’s Road from Glory to Disaster."  —Library Journal

"This book is at once an American industrial history, financial assessment, cultural analysis, economic inspection, and global forecast. Evanoff and Aamidor's work deserves praise for its meticulous reporting and thorough research."  —Christian Science Monitor

Library Journal
Aamidor (Chuck Taylor, All Star) and Evanoff (former automotive writer, Detroit Free Press) team up to tell the story of unions, automakers, and the communities they affect. They explain the series of missteps that led to the recent taxpayer bailout of the Detroit automakers and how the results of the bailout reached far beyond Detroit, affecting the very future of Middle America. The small towns in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and other states serve in many ways as the U.S. manufacturing base; the authors tell the story of the U.S. car industry through the eyes of those most affected by national policy decisions—factory workers, small businesses, and local governments in these small towns. VERDICT This book is for those interested in a people-focused perspective of Detroit's collapse. It will complement the deeper look into the turning points in U.S. auto industry history provided by Paul Ingrassia's Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster.—Elizabeth Nelson, UOP Lib., Des Plaines, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550229042
  • Publisher: ECW Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author


Abe Aamidor is an award-winning journalist and a former reporter for the "St. Louis Globe-Democrat," "Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette," and the "Indianapolis Star" newspapers. He is the author of "Chuck Taylor, All Star" and "Shooting Star: The Rise and Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry" and is a former journalism professor at Southern Illinois University, Georgia Southern University, and Indiana University. He lives in Carmel, Indiana. Ted Evanoff is a newspaper reporter who has received more than two dozen reporting awards for writing about the automobile industry, manufacturing, and economic development. He is a former automotive writer at the "Detroit Free Press" and is currently the economics reporter for the "Indianapolis Star." He lives in Zionsville, Indiana.
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Table of Contents

Introduction vii

Chapter 1 The Perfect Storm 1

Chapter 2 Dogs at the Gate 23

Chapter 3 Their Year of Decision 45

Chapter 4 Government Motors 77

Chapter 5 UAW 101

Chapter 6 Ciao! 135

Chapter 7 What's Good for General Motors 165

Chapter 8 Reuther's Ghost 201

Chapter 9 Saving Our Cities 235

Chapter 10 Electric Shock 271

Chapter 11 What's Good for Walt Street 313

Chapter 12 Into the Brink 359

Bibliography 379

Index 381

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 8, 2010

    Great Book All Around

    At the Crossroads is a winner all around. If you are interested in how Middle America has fought to save itself from oblivion during our tough economic times, this is the book for you. Authors Abe Aamidor and Ted Evanoff have thoroughly researched what occurred, and flavor the book with insightful interviews from those people most affected by Washington's failure to understand basic economics. The book is also a true slice of history regarding the car industry for those that forget what it has meant to millions of people who worked so hard to make the American automobile the best in the world. The stories are heartwarming and sad all at the same time, especially those focused on the people of Kokomo, Indiana who have suffered hardship and pain with broken promises and industry closings. I highly recommend this book. The writing is first rate, and the personal tone shows how much the authors cared about the people they met and interviewed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    America's industrial base is declining

    This up-to-date book tackles the auto industry crisis of 2008 and 2009 from two points of view, that of the ordinary people, factory workers, small business operators and mayors of several auto manufacturing towns in Indiana (where a lot of USA and Japanese cars and trucks are made), but also the point of view of the policy makers in Washington, New York and Detroit. It's the big picture and the little picture, too, in other words. The authors show an intimate knowledge of the turf they're writing about, as they should - they're both veteran Indianapolis newspaper reporters. The book jumps back and forth between the big picture and little picture, which might be a little disconcerting to some, and includes big dollops of history about the United Auto Workers, Canadian Auto Workers (most people don't know about them, but they matter) and a history of the Big Three automakers, which the authors just call the Detroit Three (they're not so big anymore, in other words). This book is written with a surprising passion - the authors seem quite angry with everyone who contributed to the mess in the auto industry, which is everyone - the manufacturers, the unions, the government, and money people on Wall Street. The authors show how millions - yes, millions - of manufacturing jobs have been lost in America in the last 10 years. As the authors say at one point, and I've read this elsewhere, Japan, China and Germany became strong in large, large measure because they concentrated on manufacturing. When is the last time you saw a TV made in America? A power tool? Do you want this to happen with autos?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2010

    Informative and interesting summary of the US auto industry

    'At the Crossroads' seamlessly combines a number of themes relating to our declining domestic auto industry. It analyzes many of the decisions that were made by the car executives and union leadership over the past decades and how these choices paved the way to bankruptcy. The book also includes personal stories of individuals that worked in auto factories and the difficult decisions made by elected leaders in the communities that have lost significant numbers of car manufacturing jobs. Recent events, including decisions made and actions taken by the Obama administration throughout 2009 are included and analyzed. The book also discusses the importance of having a strong manufacturing base and some of the reasons why many non-auto factory jobs also are in decline.

    'At the Crossroads' is even-handed and goes beyond other analyses that solely blame the unions - for demanding huge salaries - or the car companies - for designing poor and/or unappealing cars - and shows that the decline of our domestic auto industry is due to a number of factors. Readers will understand the challenges that small town elected leadership faces (and have a new appreciation for the situation) after reading this book.

    All these themes are supported by research, examples and interviews, weaved together in an enjoyable and well-written read that is sure to appeal to anyone who wants to know what happened to the 'Big Three' car companies and how it impacts our nation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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