Booklist review of Midnight in Vehicle City
McClelland, a historian, journalist, and author of numerous books (Young Mr. Obama, 2010; Nothin’ But Blue Skies, 2013), traces the story of the Flint, MI, workers who advocated for collective bargaining and for better work benefits against General Motors (GM) in the 1930s. Home to GM, one of the world’s biggest corporations at the time, Flint propelled the automobile industry and was known as Vehicle City. Over time, labor concerns and strikes began to increase among auto workers who demanded better work benefits. McClelland here examines the conflicts and negotiation processes precipitated by these workers, using oral histories, memoirs, interviews, and newspapers. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, the first woman to serve in the presidential cabinet, is spotlighted in this fascinating labor struggle. Readers interested in American labor and social history will find McClelland’s engagingly written, informative work a key to understanding the voices and roles of those who advocated for better working conditions for all working-class people.