STEEL GIANTS: Historic Images from the Calumet

STEEL GIANTS: Historic Images from the Calumet

STEPHEN MCSHANE & GARY WILK    Book Number: 85048    Product format: Hardback

From 1896 to 1970 the USA was the world's biggest producer of steel. Not only was steelmaking the country's biggest business in its heyday, but it was a peculiarly American one, an industry that characterised the American full-throttle approach to things, with a sense of supersized sprawl and a culture of abundance. This culture reached its apotheosis in the Calumet region, a 16 mile stretch of Lake Michigan's southern shoreline between Gary, Indiana and the Illinois state line. This was a place to which an army of tens of thousands of men flocked in order to sweat, strain and often die in order to turn gritty lumps of iron ore into skyscraper beams, ships' hulls, sheets for car manufacture and much more, creating one of most densely populated and ethnically diverse regions in the US. Steel Giants is an immense pictorial history of that world, one which at first glance resembled Dante's Inferno with its thousands of smoke-belching stacks, fire and white-hot molten steel spitting out from pitch-black furnaces, red-hot ingots on the back of rail trucks hauled by straining locomotives and hellish blast furnaces dotted around like the burned stumps of a giant dead forest. We also see the successful communities that steelmaking created - schools, hospitals, civic buildings, sports facilities and high-quality housing where families could thrive. Photographers from US Steel in Gary and Inland Steel in Chicago documented the phenomenal growth of the region from the turn of the century onwards. The images of the first female steel workers who arrived to take the places of servicemen post-1942 are particularly striking, adding a hitherto unimaginable touch of glamour to a grimy industry. A weighty 286pp, 11¼"×10½", over 270 full page b/w photos and sepia postcards and colour plates, captions.
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ISBN 9780253352996
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