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Punching Out

One Year in a Closing Auto Plant

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eBook published by Anchor (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
An elegy—angry, funny, and powerfully detailed—about the slow death of a Detroit auto plant and an American way of life.

How does a country dismantle a century’s worth of its industrial heritage? To answer that question, Paul Clemens investigates the 2006 closing of one of America’s most potent symbols: a Detroit auto plant. Prior to its closing, the Budd Company stamping plant on Detroit’s East Side, built in 1919, was one of the oldest active auto plants in America’s foremost industrial city—one whose history includes the nation’s proudest moments and those of its working class. Its closing also reflects the character of the country in a new era—the sad, brutal process of picking it apart and sending it, piece by piece, to the countries that now have use for its machines.

Punching Out is an up-close report, at once tender and angry, from the meanest, sharpest edge of America’s deindustrializa­tion, and a lament for a working-class culture that once defined a prosperous America—and that is now on the verge of eco­nomic extinction.
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An elegy—angry, funny, and powerfully detailed—about the slow death of a Detroit auto plant and an American way of life.

How does a country dismantle a century’s worth of its industrial heritage? To answer that question, Paul Clemens investigates the 2006 closing of one of America’s most potent symbols: a Detroit auto plant. Prior to its closing, the Budd Company stamping plant on Detroit’s East Side, built in 1919, was one of the oldest active auto plants in America’s foremost industrial city—one whose history includes the nation’s proudest moments and those of its working class. Its closing also reflects the character of the country in a new era—the sad, brutal process of picking it apart and sending it, piece by piece, to the countries that now have use for its machines.

Punching Out is an up-close report, at once tender and angry, from the meanest, sharpest edge of America’s deindustrializa­tion, and a lament for a working-class culture that once defined a prosperous America—and that is now on the verge of eco­nomic extinction.
Product Details
eBook (240 pages)
Published: January 18, 2011
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Anchor
ISBN: 9780385532624
Other books byPaul Clemens
  • Made in Detroit

    Made in Detroit
    A New York Times Notable BookA powerfully candid memoir about growing up white in Detroit and the conflicted point of view it produced. Raised in Detroit during the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, Paul Clemens saw his family growing steadily isolated from its surroundings: white in a predominately black city, Catholic in an area where churches were closing at a rapid rate, and blue-collar in a steadily declining Rust Belt. As the city continued to collapse—from depopulation, indifference, and the racial antagonism between blacks and whites—Clemens turned to writing and literature as his lifeline, his way of dealing with his contempt for suburban escapees and his frustration with the city proper. Sparing no one—particularly not himself—this is an astonishing examination of race and class relations from a fresh perspective, one forged in a city both desperate and hopeful.

    The Way It Is

    The Way It Is
    One Water...One Air...One Mother Earth...
    As I see it all around me, the trees are dying out, our water is contaminated, and our air is not good to breathe. Those are the reasons why today I'm trying my best to come back to our ways of thousands of years ago.We have to come back to the Native way of life. The Native way is to pray for everything, to take care of everything. Our Mother Earth is very important. We can't just misuse her and think she's going to continue. We can see what's taking place: the animal life, the tree life, even the water is telling us, but we're not paying attention to it.We've been told to take care of what we've got so that we can leave something for the younger generation. We've tried to practice that from the beginning of our life, but we forgot our way."I never have spoken out until lately here, the Spirit coming to me and telling me, "Well, you are going to have to give us a hand here." In a vision, not too many years ago, the water came to me and told me, "I'm going to look like water, but pretty soon nobody's going to use me." These words came from the water, the Spirit. Now I see that the water has been polluted everywhere you go, and pretty soon we're not going to be able to use it.All living things like to enjoy clean water. The rocks right here, they want clean water. The tree life has to have clean water. We are all one life, and clean water is something we have to rely on.We, the people, are going to have to put our thoughts together to save our planet here. We only have One Water... One Air... One Mother Earth.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
  • When Jon Clark started his newsletter, Plant Closing News, in 2003, he promised subscribers that he'd report on the specifics of 25 plant closings a month—300 per year.

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