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Michigan: A History of the Great Lakes State Paperback – April 22, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0882952574 ISBN-10: 0882952579 Edition: 4th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 4 edition (April 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882952579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882952574
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Bruce A. Rubenstein, Professor of History at the University of Flint-Michigan, is a native of Port Huron, Michigan, and received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Dr. Rubenstein’s areas of specialty, in addition to Michigan history, are American Indian-White Relations, Twentieth-Century Political History, and the History of Sports. He co-authored two other books with Dr. Ziewacz, Three Bullets Sealed His Lips and Payoffs in the Cloakroom: The Greening of the Michigan Legislature, 1938-1945, both dealing with Michigan’s political history. He also has authored Chicago in the World Series, 1903-2005: The Cubs and White Sox in Championship Play, in addition to several articles on baseball and American Indian-White Relations in Michigan.

Dr. Lawrence E. Ziewacz, late Professor of American Thought and Language at Michigan State University, was a native of Sault Ste. Marie, in Michigan’s upper peninsula and received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University. In addition to his co-authored books with Dr. Rubenstein, he co-authored The Games They Played: Sports in American History and was co-advisory general editor for The Guide to United States Popular Culture. Dr. Ziewacz was a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities and published numerous articles on sports and Michigan political history.


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Giant Panda on November 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having grown up in the Metro Detroit area, I can hardly recognize the Michigan described in this book. I did learn from it, especially about the early history of the state. However, I find it packed with notable omissions and serious biases. It is very much a "names and dates" history book, less interesting and hard to plod through. An entire chapter, for example, bores you to death with the history of the electoral contests within the state in the late 1800s. This encyclopedic material is more appropriate for a reference book. You will learn a lot about the governors and their supporters, but little about how ordinary people live, what the culture was like in different periods, or what life in Detroit was like.

The book is Lansing-centric in a big way. It has a marked bias in favor of the upper peninsula and the rural areas of Michigan, with strong anti-Detroit undertones. Devoting the bulk of the book to sparsely populated areas makes no sense to me. It is further full of chauvinistic remarks and editorial comments, clearly favoring MI over other states, and showing a petty preference to different localities. For example, the chapter on education in the state glorifies MSU, the authors' alma mater, while containing many disparaging remarks about U-M.

A notable absence in the book is the huge Arab American community that today comprises 30% of the population in Southeast Lower MI and gives a unique cultural aspect to the area. The only time the word "Arab" is mentioned is in connection with the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s. The absence is highlighted starkly by the many pages on German, Irish, Italian, and even Finnish immigrants.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By F. Michael Ciletti on May 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
I use this book for my History 329 class in Michigan history. The other book I considered was the Willis Dunbar history of the state, which is the classic text, but it is pretty ponderous to assign to undergrads. This book is light, with good short chapters and good organization. My students seem to like it.

The book is well written. It is concise and highlights important and interesting events pretty well. Does not dwell in some if the minute detail that the Dunbar book does. I would say if you are looking for a good quick read to get up to speed on Michigan history, this is a good choice.
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By Candise Lynn on May 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
It's easy to read and not too long. A pretty good text book. Could be more engaging that's why only 4 stars.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Denise M. Rozema on June 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I sent this one back as soon as I could because I found out that I didn't need it after all. I didn't even open it so I can't give any input on it's contents...sorry.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Kupfer on December 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Professors Rubenstein and Ziewacz, successful collaborators on other books, have pulled off a triumph. Well-suited for the classroom, the book is compelling enough for a lay reader interested in any aspect of the rich history of the Great Lakes State. The touch of Lawrence Ziewacz's unique perspective on politics and culture is much in evidence here, and reading the book gives this former colleague the delightful sense of revisiting some of his riveting discussions on Michigania at Michigan State University, where he was a professor for many years. His recent passing means that this volume is the best way to recapture the power of his mature scholarship and prose stylings. A handsome volume, solid and smooth, well-illustrated, too. The definitive book of its type!
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