Sawdusted: Notes from a Post-Boom Mill

Hardcover | May 20, 2010

byRaymond Goodwin

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When Raymond Goodwin started work at a Michigan sawmill in 1979, the glory days of lumbering were long gone. But the industry still had a faded glow that, for a while, held him there. In Sawdusted Goodwin wipes the dust off his memories of the rundown, nonunion mill where he toiled for twenty months as a two-time college dropout. Spare, evocative character sketches bring to life the personalities of his fellow millworkers—their raucous pranks, ribbing, complaints about wages and weather, macho posturing, failed romances, and fantasies of escape.
    The result is a mostly funny, sometimes heartbreaking portrait of life in the lumbering industry a century after its heyday. Amidst the intermittent anger and resignation of poorly paid lumbermen in the Great Lakes hinterlands, Goodwin reveals moments of vulnerability, generosity, and pride in craftsmanship. It is a world familiar, in its basic outlines, to anyone who has ever done manual labor.
    At the heart of the book is a coming-of-age story about Goodwin’s relationship with his older brother Randy—a heavy drinker, chain smoker, and expert sawyer. Gruff but kind, Randy tutors Raymond in the ways of the blue-collar world even as he struggles with the demons that mask his own melancholy.
 
 
A Michigan Notable Book, selected by the Library of Michigan
 
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association
 
Outstanding Book, selected by the American Association of School Libraries

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From the Publisher

When Raymond Goodwin started work at a Michigan sawmill in 1979, the glory days of lumbering were long gone. But the industry still had a faded glow that, for a while, held him there. In Sawdusted Goodwin wipes the dust off his memories of the rundown, nonunion mill where he toiled for twenty months as a two-time college dropout. Spare...

Raymond Goodwin went back to college after his stint in lumbering. As a manager of human resources at Central Michigan University, he now helps a new generation of young people find work.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:180 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.7 inPublished:May 20, 2010Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:029923570X

ISBN - 13:9780299235703

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Read from the Book

He was tall, gangly, and forever grinning one of those grins you give a double take because the first glance hasn’t told you whether the grinner is daft or dangerous. Our friend the Cat was not daft, but, not altogether purposely, he may have been dangerous. The Cat was six foot four and 210 rangy pounds, the wrong size for instability.© The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved. 

Table of Contents

Museums
Authorization
A Shot of Whiskey
The Blanched One
Routine
Scruff Scuffle
Yuletide Blur
The Cat
The Stacker
The Innocent
Bob Tale
The Rookie
Stig
The Rug
Lightning
Outside the Fence
Belated Author’s Note
Come and Get It
Sharpening
The Foreman
The Tree Lover
Stoics
The Tattoo Man
The Rat
The Transient
First Mill
Grunts
Baseball
The Sawyer
Once More to the Mill

Editorial Reviews

“All-night bonfires, heavy drinking, and barroom brawls are what the reader may remember about Goodwin’s cast of characters, but his depiction of life in a declining Michigan sawmill town reflects a keen insight into people, passion, and survival in the Midwest.”—Jeremy W. Kilar, author of Michigan’s Lumbertowns: Lumbermen and Laborers in Saginaw, Bay City, and Muskegon, 1870–1905