Detroit MI

A century ago the Soo canal was an insignificant ditch in a remote northern wilderness. Today it serves as the busiest industrial highway on earth.

What it was like to be young and in the front lines when Europe mounted an assault on Detroit with small, snarling, irresistible machines that changed the way we drove and thought

WHAT’S THE POINT OF BEING A BOY IF YOU DON’T GRASP THE FACT that cars are the package excitement comes in? I certainly did. Read more >>

Bill Mitchell’s imaginings brought you the cars of Detroit’s ultimate classic era

THEY SIT LIKE RUINED VILLAS IN THE distant reaches of mall parking lots, in inner-city neighborhoods and backcountry towns, dressed no longer in bright colors but in gray patches and orange primer, the last Chevelles and Biscaynes, GTOs an Read more >>

A tribute to the brash confections our car makers offered the world during a decade when not one American in a thousand had even heard the name Toyota

America swaggered off the World War II battlefields like a heavyweight champion who had just scored a first-round knockout. Read more >>

He invented modern mass production. He gave the world the first people’s car, and his countrymen loved him for it. But at the moment of his greatest triumph, he turned on the empire he had built—and on the son who would inherit it.

Part One The Creator Read more >>

A leading authority picks the top ten. Some of the names still have the power to stir the blood. And some will surprise you.

Few enterprises for any alleged expert in a given field can be more hazardous than the compilation of a “best” or “worst” list. Read more >>

At a time of crisis for American labor, an organizer looks back on the turbulent fifty-year career that brought him from the shop floor to the presidency of the United Automobile Workers.

Douglas A. Fraser is unusual among American union leaders of this generation. He started out as a worker, not as a professional union man, during that fervid time of union organization, the Great Depression, and witnessed the founding of his own union. Read more >>

The great sit-down strike that transformed American industry

At General Motors’ Flint, Michigan, Fisher Body Number One, the largest auto-body factory in the world, it was early evening of a chill winter day. Read more >>

"With half the western world at stake, See Perry on the middle lake.” —Nineteenth-century ballad

In the late summer of 1812 a Great Lakes merchant captain named Daniel Dobbins arrived in Washington. Read more >>
There seems to be a paucity of ingenious Bicentennial projects, especially compared to the ones that flourished during the 1816 Centennial. Read more >>

OR HOW THE BOY SCOUTS CAME TO AMERICA

Africa was part of my childhood. The attic in our Detroit home smelled like a zoo. There were lion, leopard, zebra, antelope, and colobus monkey skins that my sister and I and our friends used to take out of their trunks and forget to put back. Read more >>

"Billy" Durant typified the courage of American business. He was charismatic, arbitrary and impenetrable.

On March 18, 1947, at 2:15 A.M. , William Crapo Durant, founder of General Motors and Chevrolet and the “leading bull” in the great stock-market boom and crash of the late 1920’s, died at his New York City apartment with his wife and nurse in attendance. His last fortune had evaporated in the Depression of the 1930’s, and he had been an invalid for several years. People were already beginning to confuse him with Will Durant, the popular historian of philosophy. Within a few weeks Henry Ford, whose automotive career strikingly paralleled Durant’s, was to die too—rich and famous but also ridiculed and despised. “Billy “Durant, on the other hand, left a public image that was clouded but untarnished. A eulogy in the Detroit Free Press said : “There was nothing of the ruthless pirate in Durant for all of his financial manipulations. Despite his fortunes and his power he was always a simple, human person, with a consciousness of the problems of the little fellow. … W. C. Durant typified the courage of American business, of free enterprise and initiative. If all of his principles are no longer acceptable, there are elements in his character that America badly needs today.” Read more >>