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Alumnus publishes second book

Posted on January 20, 2011

Paul Clemens, who graduated from Grand Valley's Honors College in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in English, Language and Literature, has published his second book about Detroit.

The author of Made in Detroit: A South of 8 Mile Memoir (2005) returns with Punching Out: One Year in a Closing Auto Plant. The book continues the conversation about the city where he grew up white, working class and Catholic in an area where such became the minority. His new book focuses on the disassembly of a closed automotive stamping plant so the heavy equipment can be shipped to factories in other countries.

The New York Times review states, “He summarizes his book’s primal subject better than a panel of gods and philosophers could: ‘The American working class, mopping up after itself.’” During an interview on Public Radio’s “Marketplace” program, Clemens stated, “There’s a vitality to the guys in the book. There’s a bedrock of decency and insight into what they have to say about the process.” He explains that Detroit and the particular auto plant were not the book’s subject, but its setting. “It’s my way into the topic …what do we do now?”

Clemens spoke about the book with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show," January 19. View it here:

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