Michigan: A Bicentennial History (States and the Nation)

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W. W. Norton & Company, Dec 17, 1984 - History - 204 pages
4 Reviews

The late Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian Bruce Catton is known to millions of readers for his absorbing works on the Civil War. In this book, he turns to his native Michigan to tell a story of what happened when a primitive wilderness changed into a bustling industrial center so fast that it was as if the old French explorer Etienne Brule "should step up to shake hands with Henry Ford."

The idea that abundance was "inexhaustible--that fatal Michigan word," as the author calls it--dominated thinking about the state from the days when Commandant Cadillac's soldiers arrived at Detroit until his name became a brand of car. Viewed in this light, Michigan is a case study of all America, and Americans in any state will be fascinated. In a colorful, dramatic past, Mr. Catton finds understanding of where we are in the present and what the future will make us face. 

  

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This is an unusual way to write a history, to say the least. And yet, it works amazingly well. There is not a lot of cold recitation of detail in Catton's writing. (I just finished Richard Nelson Current's parallel history of Wisconsin, and the two styles are entirely different. ) Yet, everything that you need to know about the history of Michigan is here--the French and English dealings with the Indians, Lewis Cass' activity, the Toledo War, the farming, lumbering and mining industries, Hazen Pingree's Progressive movement--all told in a very pleasant, readable style. This book is part of a series of the histories of all 50 states, and Michigan is fortunate to have a writer like Bruce Catton telling its story. 

Review: Michigan: A Bicentennial History

User Review  - Ohit's Chris - Goodreads

Liked it a lot, i would be willing to read about more states if it's done in the same way. Read full review

Contents

The Everlasting Road
3
The Hungry Men
22
Stars and Stripes
39
Governor Cass Governor Clinton and Mr Astor
58
Statehood
75
A Right to Expect Much
94
Breakthrough at the Soo
112
Backwoods Production Line
128
Members of the Community
148
The Inexhaustible Resource
165
Master of His Fate
181
Copyright

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About the author (1984)

Bruce Catton, whose complete name was Charles Bruce Catton, was born in Petoskey, Michigan, on October 9, 1899. A United States journalist and writer, Catton was one of America's most popular Civil War historians. Catton worked as a newspaperman in Boston, Cleveland, and Washington, and also held a position at the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1948. Catton's best-selling book, A Stillness at Appomattox, a recount of the most spectacular conflicts between Generals Grant and Lee in the final year of the Civil War, earned him a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in 1954. In 1977, the year before his death, Catton received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from President Gerald R. Ford, who noted that the author and historian "made us hear the sounds of battle and cherish peace." Before his death in 1978, Catton wrote a total of ten books detailing the Civil War, including his last, Grant Takes Command. Since 1984, the Bruce Catton Prize was awarded for lifetime achievement in the writing of history. In cooperation with American Heritage Publishing Company, the Society of American Historians in 1984 initiated the biennial prize that honors an entire body of work. It is named for Bruce Catton, prizewinning historian and first editor of American Heritage magazine. The prize consisted of a certificate and 2,500 dollars.

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