Author Ed McClelland at Oak Park Library June 3

Book Beat is pleased to welcome author Edward McClelland to the Oak Park Library (14200 Oak Park Blvd, Oak Park, MI 48237) on Monday, June 3 at 6:30pm to discuss and sign his latest book, Nothin’ But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America’s Industrial Heartland. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be for sale at the event courtesy of Book Beat (248) 968-1190.

A reservoir of information about American manufacturing, labor unions, and social movements, McClelland’s book, ironically, stands as a testament to the simple truth that one steel worker told him: “You can’t grow an economy without making things, producing stuff.” – Publishers Weekly

“..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.” -Booktopia

“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.” – publisher description

Edward McClelland, who knows the territory, has produced a dazzling and heart-breaking piece of front-line reporting on the glory days and collapse of the industrial heartland, and on the pain and resilience of the people left in its wreckage. From Syracuse and Buffalo to Flint and Chicago, we meet the workers who wonder what has happened to their lives. Raw and vibrant, Nothin’ But Blue Skies sings the Rust Belt blues.”—Richard C. Longworth, author of Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism

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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