Ann Arbor Ypsilanti 2010 Reads
A VERY Selective Bibliography *
Cox, Anna-Lisa. A Stronger Kinship: One Town's Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press/ Bison Books, 2007.
In the nineteenth century, when much of the nation was solidifying racial discrimination and barriers between the races and to achievement for former slaves, the small town of Covert, Michigan, was embarking on a bold social order--equality among the races. Historian Cox details the founding families--black and white--who established Covert in 1860 as a mixed-race community that defied the social conventions of the time, electing blacks to powerful political positions and providing a haven for economic development for achievers of all races.
Walker, Lewis and Benjamin C. Wilson. Black Eden: The Idlewild Community. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2002.
Black Eden" chronicles the history of Idlewild, MI. one of the many American black communities founded during the aftermath of the Civil War.
Detroit / Music / Automotive /
Boyle, Kevin. Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age. New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2005.
In the summer of 1925, Detroit, there is rising tension from racism as native-born whites, immigrants, and blacks, drawn by the flourishing automobile industry, jockeyed for jobs and housing in the teeming metropolis. This is the story of Ossian Sweet, his family, his rights and his murder trial.
Carson, David. Grit, Noise & Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n' Roll. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2005.
Carson chronicles Detroit pop music between World War II and Motown Records' early-1970s removal to L.A., delineating loud, intense Motor City acts from John Lee Hooker to Bob Seger and drawing lines of influence between white and black acts.
Early, Gerald. One Nation Under a Groove: Motown and American Culture. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2004.
In this elegant, far-ranging essay, African American studies professor Early (The Culture of Bruising) offers a portrait of the revolutionary as a decidedly bourgeois family man and businessman-Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr., stage manager of "the most shining moment of the American black in popular culture."
Hernandez, Lolita. Autopsy of an Engine: And Other Stories from the Cadillac Plant. Minneapolis, MN: Coffee House Press, 2004.
Hernandez's short stories capture the effect on Detroit after Cadillac closed its plants there. Hernandez, who worked for Cadillac for 21 years, writes a tender tribute to the working-class people who made the auto industry thrive.
Smith, Suzanne E. Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
A history of Motown's founding in 1958 on through the city's devastating riots in 1967 and the related early-'70s flight from its precincts of the two enterprises central to its modern identity. If you've never heard about the Concept East Theater; or of WCHB, the first radio station built, owned, and operated by African-Americans; or never knew about organizations like the League of Revolutionary Black Workers; or the Freedom Now Part (the first all-black political party in the nation), Smith's text will explain their rich legacies.
Sugrue, Thomas J. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.
Title says it all.
Dowd, Gregory Evans. War Under Heaven: Pontiac, the Indian Nations, and the British Empire. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 2002.
Graham, Loren R. A Face in the Rock: The Tale of a Grand Island Chippewa. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998.
Off the south shore of Lake Superior lies an island eight miles long and four miles wide, shaped like the palm of a hand. Known as Grand Island, it was once home to a sizable community of Chippewa Indians who lived in harmony with the land and with each other. The tragic demise of the Grand Island Chippewa began more than 200 years ago when their fellow tribesmen from the mainland goaded the peaceful islanders into joining them in a senseless battle with their rival the Sioux. A Face in the Rock tells the fascinating story of the Grand Island Chippewa.
Petoskey, Warren. Dancing My Dream. David Crumm Media, LLC, 2009.
This memoir of Native American teacher, writer and artist Warren Petoskey spans centuries and lights up shadowy corners of American history with important memories of Indian culture and survival.
Sugden, John. Tecumseh: A Life. New York, New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1998.
This intelligent study of Tecumseh's life relates a great deal as well about the history of the Shawnee, especially in the Ohio region, and the wider context of Tecumseh's attempt to create a Pan Indian resistance, including a history of earlier such attempts. A very competent addition to the literature on this remarkable man; recommended for most academic and larger public libraries. --- Charlie Cowling, SUNY at Brockport
Environment, Nature and Weather (including literary works)
Bohnak, Karl. So Cold a Sky: Upper Michigan Weather Stories. Ed. Rebecca Tavernini and Judy Johnson. Negaunee, MI: Cold Sky Publishing, 2006.
Weather history of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from the 1600's to the present.
Dempsey, Dave. Ruin and Recovery: Michigan's Rise as a Conservation Leader. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2001.
Dempsey tells the story of Michigan's cycles of resource exploitation and conservation from the early days of statehood in 1837 to the present day. Drawing from a large number of resources, including archival records and reminiscences, official documents and individual interviews, Ruin and Recovery charts the development of a conservation ethic in Michigan and chronicles the major battles for environmental protection since the late 1800s.
Kalt, Brian C. Sixties Sandstorm: The Fight Over Establishment of a Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 1961-1970. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2001.
The 1,600 people who lived in the proposed park area feared not only that the federal government would confiscate their homes, but that a wave of tourists would ensue and destroy their beloved and fragile lands. In response, they organized citizen action groups and fought a nine-year battle against the legislation. Sixties Sandstorm is not a book about dunes as much as it is a book about people and their government. It chronicles the public meetings, bills, protests, and congressional interactions that led to the signing of the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes Act in 1970.
Knott, John R. and Keith Taylor. The Huron River: Voices from the Watershed. 2000: University of Michigan Press.
A collection of new poems, essays, and stories, accompanied by maps, photographs, and illustrations that celebrate the Huron River. Over twenty locally and nationally known literary figures, including Alice Fulton and Charles Baxter, have contributed to this volume.
Swan, Alison. Fresh Water: Women Writing on the Great Lakes. Ed. Alison Swan. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, 2006.
A collection of nonfiction works by women writers. These works focus on the Midwest: living with the five interconnected freshwater seas that we know as the Great Lakes. Contributing to this collection are renowned poets, essayists, and fiction writers, all of whom write about their own creative streams of consciousness, the fresh waters of the Great Lakes, and the region's many rivers.
Roethke, Theodore. Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. New York, New York: Anchor Books, 1991 "Originally published in hardcover by Doubleday in 1966: - T.p. verso.
Theodore Roethke was born in Saginaw, Mich., on May 25, 1908. The family owned the largest greenhouses in the state. He called his home "a wonderful place for a child to grow up in and around"--25 acres under glass in town and "the last stand of virgin timber in the Saginaw Valley" out in the country.
Faber, Don. Toledo War: The First Michigan-Ohio Rivalry. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2008.
The conflict started with a long-simmering dispute over a narrow wedge of land called the Toledo Strip. Early maps were famously imprecise, adding to the uncertainty of the true boundary between the states. When Ohio claimed to the mouth of the Maumee River, land that according to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 fell in the territory of Michigan, the "Toledo War" began.
Margolick, David. Beyond Glory: Joe Louis Vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink, by David Margolick. . New York: Knopf, 2005.
The 1938 heavyweight rematch between Detroit's Joe Louis and Germany's Max Schmeling qualifies as the sort of sporting event that coalesces into a symbolic moment with much larger themes. The African-American Louis's success and demeanor were an unsubtle rebuke to the Aryan theories of race; the affable Schmeling, for his part, would be shoehorned into the role of "Nazi Max," despite the uneasiness of the fit—later that year, on Kristallnacht, he would courageously protect two German Jews.
Maritime Stories/ Memoirs / Special Places
Catton, Bruce. Waiting for the Morning Train: An American Boyhood. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1987.
One of America's great Civil War historians recounts his days growing up in Benzonia, a small town in Michigan's lower peninsula.
Emerick, Lon L. Going Back to Central: On the Road in Search of the Past in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Skandia, MI: North Country Publishing, 2003.
Cornish copper miners in the region in the 1800’s.
Kowalski, Greg. Hamtramck: The Driven City. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2002.
Hamtramck is more than just pączki. Surrounded completely by the city of Detroit, Hamtramck is today home to 24,000 residents, but its small size of just 2.1 square miles belies its expansive history and the influence this remarkable community has had far beyond its borders.
Neuschel, Fred. Lives and Legends of the Christmas Tree Ships.Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2007.
Lives and Legends of the Christmas Tree Shipsbrings the maritime heritage of the Great Lakes to life, using the tragic story of the schooner Rouse Simmons as a porthole into the robust but often forgotten communities that thrived along Lake Michigan from the Civil War to World War I.
Nguyen, Bich Minh. Stealing Buddha's Dinner : A Memoir. New York, New York: Viking Penguin, 2008.
Nguyen is a Vietnamese girl coming of age in Grand Rapids in the 1980s.
Bernstein, Arnie. Bath Massacre: America’s First School Bombing. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2009.
On May 18, 1927, the small town of Bath, Michigan, was forever changed when Andrew Kehoe set off a cache of explosives concealed in the basement of the local school. Thirty-eight children and six adults were dead, among them Kehoe, who had literally blown himself to bits by setting off a dynamite charge in his car.
Lehto, Steve. Death's Door: The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder. Troy, MI.: Momentum Books, LLC;, 2006.
Death's Door is the true account of the tragedy that struck a Michigan copper mining town during a time when a bitter struggle raged between the striking workers and the mining companies in 1913.
Link, Mardi. Isadore's Secret: Sin, Murder and Confession in a Northern Michigan Town. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2009.
A gripping account of the mysterious disappearance of a young Felician nun in a northern Michigan town in 1907 and the national controversy that followed when she turned up dead and buried in the basement of the church.
When Evil Came to Good Hart. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2008.
There is an intemporal quality to Good Hart, the kind born of ancient rocks, mature mixed forests, enduring Ottawa legends, and the turquoise waters of Little Traverse Bay. Hovering over this paradise is the dark chapter in the village's past that locals still don't care to talk about: the massacre of six members of the vacationing Robison family in the summer of 1968. In the first nonfiction book about this baffling and still unsolved crime, Link offers up a balanced and absorbing account of this mystery, allowing readers to form their own opinions and leaving them wanting more from this very talented writer. -- author Richard Bak
Amick, Steve. The Lake, the River & the Other Lake. New York, New York: Anchor Books, 2005.
“By turns humorous, tender, and tragic, Amick’s debut novel features a deeply involving story that’s as authentic and addicting as Mackinac Island fudge and makes perfect summer reading.” – The Flint Journal
Arnow, Harriet. The Dollmaker. New York, New York: Macmillan, 1954.
Gertie Nevells is a strong and compassionate woman living in Kentucky and migrating north to Ypsilanti just before World War II with her husband and children. “The Dollmaker is both a passionate denunciation of industrialization and war, and a tribute to a woman's love for her children and the land.”
Barr, Nevada. A Superior Death. New York, New York: Berkley Book, 1994.
---. Winter Study. New York, New York: Putnam, 2008.
Anna Pigeon, National Park Service Ranger, is stationed at Isle Royal National Park in Lake Superior.
Eugenides, Jeffrey. Middlesex. New York, New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002.
Eugenides weaves together a kaleidoscopic narrative spanning 80 years of a stained family history, from a fateful incestuous union in a small town in early 1920s Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit; from the early days of Ford Motors to the heated 1967 race riots; from the tony suburbs of Grosse Pointe and a confusing, aching adolescent love story to modern-day Berlin. Eugenides's command of the narrative is astonishing. He balances Cal/Callie's shifting voices convincingly, spinning this strange and often unsettling story with intelligence, insight, and generous amounts of humor.
Hamilton, Steve. A Cold Day in Paradise. New York, New York: Minotaur Books/ St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Alex McKnight is a retired Detroit cop living in Paradise, Mich., on disability with a bullet next to his heart.
Harrison, Jim. Off to the Side: A Memoir. New York, New York: Atlantic Montly Press, 2003.
Whether recalling bits of his past as a depressed child, manual laborer, Hollywood screenwriter, aspiring poet, novelist, or alcoholic husband, Jim Harrison pauses to analyze these moments--the cause and effect--and the choices that have made him who he is.
---. Returning to Earth. New York, NY: Heritage Press, 2007.
---. True North. New York, New York: Grove Press, 2004.
Jackson, Jon A. Man with an Axe. New York, New York: Grove Press, 1998.
The seventh book in Jon A. Jackson's addictive series about Detroit homicide detective sergeant "Fang" Mulheisen begins on the day of Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance, July 30, 1975.
* The titles here should be considered a ‘starting point’ for books on Michigan, or books by Michigan Authors about Michigan. Descriptions were taken from a variety of sources.