Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yet Another Willow Run-Themed Book, But One That Isn't a "Piece of..." er, Junk

Dusty D is contributing another Ypsi-themed book to the "Ypsilanti" collection of books, this one from my own "local history" bookshelf. It is "Willow Run: A Study of Industrialization and Cultural Inadequacy," by U-M sociology professor Lowell Julliard Carr and Detroit Institute of Technology sociology professor James Edson Stermer.

This stunning sociological study focuses on the culture within the housing projects surrounding the bomber plant.

Readers will find an account of a family overwintering in a tent--and--giving birth to a baby in said tent, who, when visited by indefatigable Ypsilanti social worker Inez Graves, was wrapped in newspaper.

The book offers a gripping portrait of the day-to-day life of the Ypsituckians (I use that word with pride) in the shoddy Willow Run housing projects, and how they were regarded by "respectable" Ypsilantians who watched, with horror, as the population of the bomber workers ballooned to 42,331 in 1943.

Descriptions of the seedy private trailer camps that sprang up, the inadequacy of hygienic facilities, and the scrappy efforts of the Willow Village/Willow Lodge residents to maintain a decent life rivet the reader.

Dusty D strongly recommends this fascinating book, an invaluable and unvarnished portrait of the lives of the bomber plant workers. It's available on Amazon!


Edward Vielmetti said...

It's also available at local libraries, according to Worldcat:


listing the U of Michigan library as holding a copy along with 370 others around the world.

Another WR themed book is this one:


The Story Of Willow Run by Wilson, Marion F.

dated 1956, U of Michigan Press

Wystan said...

Roy Smith's autobiography was published recently. It's full of interesting stuff about his early political shenanigans in Ypsi Township. I browsed it at Borders.

Wystan said...

On the theme of Willow Run: has anyone besides me seen the newsreel movie (b&w, with sound)about the development of Willow Village during WWII? Washtenaw Community College has a copy of the film -- or did have, when I viewed it thirty years ago. Guy Larcom was featured in it: he was manager of the project, ten years before he became Ann Arbor's first City Manager. I'm thinking it would be nice to be able to see the film online.

Dusty D said...

Wystan...that newsreel is striking a chord. I could swear I DID see it online. Hmm, let me check it out here and see if I can find it in the next day or so--I agree, it would be great to have it online!