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Events Wed Sep 18 2013

What's Next for the Rust Belt? Three Chicago Authors Discuss

september.jpgAs a Chicagoan of about six years' standing and a Michigander by birth, I've lived most of my life on the slightly shinier edges of the Rust Belt. That's meant watching with interest as some of its old industries have coughed out their final breaths and others (tech for Chicago, medicine for Grand Rapids) started to gain force. The institutional memory of The Society of Midland Authors, of course, reaches back much farther--all the way to 1915, when it was formed by a Chicago-centered group of writers including Clarence Darrow, Harriet Monroe, and Vachel Lindsay. On Thursday, September 19, at 6pm, president Robert Loerzel brings together three writers with a lot to say about the region's economic machinery at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, in a discussion on the theme "Reviving the Rust Belt: The Future of the Industrial Midwest and Chicago."

Longtime Gapers Block readers might recognize panelist Edward McClelland--in 2006, parts of his book The Third Coast were serialized here. His most recent release is Nothin' But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America's Industrial Heartland, which traces not only the Midwest's industry but the way it's shaped the character of its residents. Larry Bennett's The Third City: Chicago and American Urbanism uses a similar lens to focus more closely on the town whose very nickname evokes reinvention. And going broader than either of the two, Edward E. Gordon's Future Jobs: Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis looks for the root causes of the entire country's declining economic power and finds it in a failure to educate workers for the kinds of jobs that are most needed now. With Loerzel as moderator, the three authors will combine their perspectives to try to sketch a picture of the Midwest's economic landscape as it will look in future decades.

 
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