The Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region became the "arsenal of democracy"-the greatest manufacturing center in the world-in the years during and after World War II, thanks to natural advantages and a welcoming culture. Decades of unprecedented prosperity followed, memorably punctuated by riots, strikes, burning rivers, and oil embargoes. A vibrant, quintessentially American character bloomed in the region's cities, suburbs, and backwaters.
But the innovation and industry that defined the Rust Belt also helped to hasten its demise. An air conditioner invented in Upstate New York transformed the South from a sweaty backwoods to a non-unionized industrial competitor. Japan and Germany recovered from their defeat to build fuel-efficient cars in the stagnant 1970s. The tentpole factories that paid workers so well also filled the air with soot, and poisoned waters and soil. The jobs drifted elsewhere, and many of the people soon followed suit.
Nothin' but Blue Skies tells the story of how the country's industrial heartland grew, boomed, bottomed, and hopes to be reborn. Through a propulsive blend of storytelling and reportage, celebrated writer Edward McClelland delivers the rise, fall, and revival of the Rust Belt and its people.
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About the Author
Edward McClelland is the author of Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President, The Third Coast: Sailors, Strippers, Fisherman, Folksingers, Long-Haired Ojibway Painters, and God-Save-the-Queen Monarchists of the Great Lakes, and Horseplayers: Life at the Track. He has contributed to the New York Times, Playboy, Slate, the Nation, and many other publications. He lives in Chicago.
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NOTHIN' BUT BLUE SKIES
The Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America's Industrial Heartland
By EDWARD MCCLELLAND
BLOOMSBURY PRESSCopyright © 2013 Edward McClelland
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Excerpted from NOTHIN' BUT BLUE SKIES by EDWARD MCCLELLAND. Copyright © 2013 by Edward McClelland. Excerpted by permission of BLOOMSBURY PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Prologue: Gus's Bar 1
1 The Sit-Down Striker 8
2 The Arsenal of Democracy 17
3 The Motor City Is Burning 30
4 Burn On, Big River 44
5 I'm a Flintoid 68
6 "A Rust Bowl" 93
7 Homestead 118
8 New Jack Cities 136
9 The Smell of Money 159
10 "We're All Going to End up in Chicago" 188
11 "Nature Always Bats Last" 204
12 Lackawanna Blues 216
13 The Second Great Recession 230
14 The Corner of Palmer and Jesus Saves 251
15 Flintstones 289
16 "This Is Not Your Father's Oldsmobile" 306
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If your from the midwest or the great lake region, its a great read. Opens your eyes to the way industries ,unions and the government operated in the mid 19th century. Very good book!
Excellent and fascinating a nonfictional book about recent history in the auto and steel industries, especially Buffalo, Detroit, Flint, etc. (the rust belt cities). It reminds me of my life, I was born in Detroit, lived there 20 years, near Detroit since then, and my father worked at a Ford car factory. He wrote real people in their lives, not sugar-coated auto industry spokespersons. Maybe sarcasm and cynical his writings but it's true enough.