“All-night bonfires, heavy drinking, and barroom brawls are what the reader may remember about Goodwin’s cast of characters, but his depiction of life in a declining Michigan sawmill town reflects a keen insight into people, passion, and survival in the Midwest.”Jeremy W. Kilar, author of Michigan’s Lumbertowns: Lumbermen and Laborers in Saginaw, Bay City, and Muskegon, 1870-1905
Sawdusted: Notes from a Post-Boom Millby Raymond Goodwin
When Raymond Goodwin started work at a Michigan sawmill in 1979, the glory days of lumbering were long gone. But the industry still had a faded glow that, for a while, held him there. In Sawdusted Goodwin wipes the dust off his memories of the rundown, nonunion mill where he toiled for twenty months as a two-time college dropout. Spare, evocative character/i>… See more details below
When Raymond Goodwin started work at a Michigan sawmill in 1979, the glory days of lumbering were long gone. But the industry still had a faded glow that, for a while, held him there. In Sawdusted Goodwin wipes the dust off his memories of the rundown, nonunion mill where he toiled for twenty months as a two-time college dropout. Spare, evocative character sketches bring to life the personalities of his fellow millworkerstheir raucous pranks, ribbing, complaints about wages and weather, macho posturing, failed romances, and fantasies of escape.
The result is a mostly funny, sometimes heartbreaking portrait of life in the lumbering industry a century after its heyday. Amidst the intermittent anger and resignation of poorly paid lumbermen in the Great Lakes hinterlands, Goodwin reveals moments of vulnerability, generosity, and pride in craftsmanship. It is a world familiar, in its basic outlines, to anyone who has ever done manual labor.
At the heart of the book is a coming-of-age story about Goodwin’s relationship with his older brother Randya heavy drinker, chain smoker, and expert sawyer. Gruff but kind, Randy tutors Raymond in the ways of the blue-collar world even as he struggles with the demons that mask his own melancholy.
- University of Wisconsin Press
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- 5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.80(d)
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He was tall, gangly, and forever grinning one of those grins you give a double take because the first glance hasn’t told you whether the grinner is daft or dangerous. Our friend the Cat was not daft, but, not altogether purposely, he may have been dangerous. The Cat was six foot four and 210 rangy pounds, the wrong size for instability.
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