One Year in a Closing Auto Plant
By Paul Clemens
(Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780767926935, 271pp.)
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
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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.