American Steel: Hot Metal Men and the Resurrection of the Rust Belt

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9780130296047: American Steel: Hot Metal Men and the Resurrection of the Rust Belt

Acclaimed writer Richard Preston chronicles the nearly superhuman effort by the Nucor Corporation, America's ninth-largest steel company to build a revolutionary new steel plant from the ashes of the midwestern Rust Belt. Elegantly written and compulsively readable, American Steel has all the elements of a great novel: amazing characters, gripping suspense, towering machinery, and a driving mission.

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From Library Journal:

In 1987, Nucor, the ninth largest steel company in the United States, bulldozed one square mile of Indiana cornfield and built the world's first compact strip production steel mill. Preston, author of First Light ( LJ 12/87), provides more than a compelling account of the mill's creation; he profiles and champions Nucor's hard-working, fast-driving, heavy-drinking, union-hating, hot-metal steelworkers who literally risk their lives to rekindle the fire of America's steel industry. Using suspenseful, tension-filled narration and nontechnical language, Preston dramatizes the Crawfordsville Project's birthpangs and its revolutionary German steelmaking process that, after two years and $250 million, finally transforms rusted Cadillacs, abandoned refrigerators, and broken truck axles into hot-rolled steel. This book, which will find a wide audience, just might ignite a desire among businesses to resurrect other neglected industries as well. Highly recommended for all libraries. Excerpted in The New York er .
- Andrea C. Dragon, Coll. of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station, N.J.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

In 1987 a maverick and minor-rank steel company named Nucor set out to challenge American "big steel" and foreign competition by crash-building on Indiana farmland a new facility, of German design, to produce sheet metal for consumer products, profitably and at competitive prices. In order to document this partial reversal of America's steel-industry decline, Preston ( First Light ) lived for months with Nucor's principal players: down-to-earth CEO Ken Iverson, larger-than-life project boss Keith Busse, cool unit manager Mark Millet and bossy Westphalian inventor-machinists. Also present are dozens of proud "hot metal" workers sweating around the clock to iron out start-up kinks, surviving fiery explosions and runaway meltdowns, and occasionally belting down boilermaker highballs to ease the tension. Preston's skillful narrative, deft characterization, authentic dialogue and description of operations make this an absorbing, informative, moving reading experience. First serial to the New Yorker.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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