Michigan Holiday Gift Guide

The Polar Express Comes to Michigan


While growing up in Grand Rapids, Chris Van Allsburg remembers hearing train whistles and taking train rides with his father. These childhood sights and sounds became part of the inspiration for Van Allsburg’s well-known children’s book, The Polar Express. The story is about a young boy who takes a magical journey aboard a train to the North Pole and receives a special gift-a bell-from Santa. Only those who truly believe in Santa can hear the bell.

The book’s popularity led to a movie released in November 2004. Michigan railroad buffs recognize the sound of the movie’s train whistle, which comes from one of the nation’s few working steam locomotives.

Built in 1941, the Pere Marquette 1225 is an enormous steam locomotive, measuring one hundred feet long and sixteen feet high. Replaced in 1951 by a more efficient diesel engine, the 1225 was saved from the scrap heap and decades later, ended up in Owosso as the star of the Steam Railroading Institute (SRI). Shortly thereafter, the 1225 was restored to its former glory.

As researchers prepared the movie version of Van Allsburg popular book, they were drawn to Owosso and the 1225. Technicians recorded the sound of the whistle, the clatter of the wheels and the rumble of the four-hundred-ton locomotive rolling down the tracks. The sounds were merged with the animated Polar Express.

Photos of the Pere Marquette 1225 from Glancy Train’s Photo Gallery

Visit Owosso’s Steam Railroading Institute for rides on their North Pole Express.

PHOTO CREDIT: Pere Marquette 1225, Bannister, Michigan, May 31, 2003
Photo © Adrienne Scholl, Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation, Inc.

For more great stories on Michigan’s past, look to Michigan History magazine. For more information or a free trial issue, call (800) 366-3703 or visit http://www.michiganhistorymagazine.com/.

Sunset on Mackinac

Stephanie of Stephanie Stevens Photography recently added a few timelapses from Mackinac Island to the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr. About her incredible timelapse of Mackinac Island harbor at sunset, she writes:

Hour & a halfish time lapse of Mackinac Island as the sun goes down, with ferries coming & going, horse carriages & bicycles on the streets, people in the park, & even some glowing Frisbees. :)

Watch it in HD and definitely check out Stephanie’s Flickr, her photography site and also a timelapse of stars at Arch Rock. More from Mackinac on Absolute Michigan.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day the Michigan Way

Here’s a whole ton of Valentine’s Day ideas. YOU probably have some other ideas – share them in the comments or right here or on our Facebook!

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart. - Confucius by Church of One
Wheresoever you go,
go with all your heart. – Confucius
by Church of One

Next Tuesday, February 14th is Valentine’s Day – a day for lovers, sweethearts, paramours … and chocoholics. Like it, love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is an annual tradition that will see over one billion valentines will be given out worldwide, 85% of those by women. However you choose to celebrate the holiday, consider making it a little more special with something from Michigan.

There’s plenty of delicious Valentine’s Day recipes from Pure Michigan at Michigan.org. The Food Network also offers up some culinary advice for Valentine’s Day complete with a full Valentine’s menu. Lansing’s WLNS CBS channel 6 website has a complete Valentine Day section on their website where you can learn all kinds of useful information including (who knew?) that chocolate is an aphrodisiac. The folks at the Grand Rapids Press and mlive.com have some tips for Valentine’s Day cooking with kids.

We have to remind you that February is National Cherry Month and cherries make a great and healthy way to bring the distinctive Valentine red into your celebrations. An affordable and tasty non-alcoholic beverage are cherry sparklers made with Michigan cherry juice and sparkling water.

On the adult beverage front, a whopping 95% of wine drinkers agree that wine makes a perfect gift, and you can’t go wrong with a  Michigan wine or  Michigan beer! The folks at MyNorth offer a listing of Northern Michigan sparkling wines to set the tone for your celebration. While bubbles are big, beers can also be appreciated. Dianna at Promote Michigan has let us in on her Love Affair with Michigan Beer, which features all kinds of special and regular brews from Michigan’s brewmasters. You can stay awake Ann Arbor Brewing’s Espresso Love featuring coffee, cozy up to the Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale from Atwater Brewing or go a little lighter with Dragonmead’s Redwing Raspberry Wheat. This is a great feature so definitely check it out!

Ginny, You Are My Shining Star by docksidepress
Ginny, You Are My Shining Star by docksidepress

If you’re left scratching your head over what to buy him or her, check out the ‘Valentine’s Day Gift Giving Guide‘ from WLNS.com.  Don’t forget the furry friends in your life either! You can be a homeless pets Valentine when WXYZ-TV 7 in Detroit hosts their Annual Valentine’s Day Telethon to support the Michigan Humane Society. Tune in or donate online with the Michigan Humane Society!

If that’s not enough and you really want to get your Valentine on, check out Absolute Michigan keyword Valentine for food & gift ideas.

For a little eye candy, you should check out the Valentine slideshow from the Absolute Michigan flickr pool!

We also have a large number of Michigan web sites to check out (though if we’re missing one, be sure to add a link to it).

Flowers & Florists - say it with flowers

Chocolate - there’s also candy companies

Candles - lighting the way for romance for thousands of years

Jewelry -silver & gold, platinum and bronze, pick your favorite.

Wow, you actually made it to the end of this post – don’t forget to buy yourself a little something for Valentines Day!

2009 Absolute Michigan Holiday Gift Guide

Photo by Cherie S.
Photo by Cherie S.

Think Globally, Shop Locally with our Michigan Holiday Gift Guide, designed to help you find the perfect Michigan gifts online or off. Feel free to add your Michigan based gift suggestions in the comments section below!

The photo in this post was taken by Cherie S. and is titled “Don’t worry about the past, rejoice in the present and have hope for the future.” Words to live by….

Art, Books & Music
Fire Center Studio
– Ishpeming, MI
Savu has owned Fire Center Studio in Ishpeming, Michigan since 1987. While her painting and illustration is done out of her studio, her work sells in galleries and gift stores throughout northern Michigan and the midwest. Her primary gallery retailer is Michigamme Moonshine Gallery in Michigamme, Michigan. Savu’s ‘Colours of Home’ annual collectible calendar series is available at bookstores and gift shops throughout the midwest as well as on website.

Mackerel Sky Gallery of Contemporary Craft – East Lansing
Mackerel Sky Gallery of Contemporary Craft, a gallery of fine craft located in East Lansing, Michigan. Owners Tom and Linda Dufelmeier created a format for the Gallery that includes an exhibit space featuring individual artists in shows that last for approximately two months. The works of art are presented in a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere allowing people from all backgrounds an opportunity to experience thought-provoking imagery by a single artist. The larger portion of the Gallery includes an eclectic selection of paper products, blown glass, jewelry, fiber, ceramics, garden accessories, fine woodworking, furniture, and lighting chosen for excellence in design and function.

Brian Vander Ark Music – Grand Rapids, MI
The lead singer of the Verve Pipe and author of the hit song “The Freshmen”, Brian has just released his debut solo CD “Resurrection”.

Fork in the Road by Eric Villegas
The new cookbook Fork in the Road with Eric Villegas (Huron River Press) is a companion to Chef Eric’s award-winning national PBS cooking show of the same title. The 192-page, hard cover, book is filled with gorgeous food & other photography that sweeps you across the magical mitten, the great state of Michigan. From north to south and east to west Chef Villegas covers the great agricultural heritage of the state in his sumptuous recipes.

Pewabic Pottery – Detroit, MI
Pewabic Pottery is a living treasure and offers visitors an exciting glimpse of a little known part of American history. Founded in 1903 during the Arts & Crafts Movement, Pewabic is nationally renowned for its tile and pottery in unique glazes. Today it is a non profit ceramic art education center which welcomes 70,000 visitors annually.

Ducksicle – Detroit, MI
Detroit’s only Chilled Poultry Rock quartet starring Tony, Helmut, Erica and the fantastischen Erik Jensen.

Elderly Instruments – Lansing, MI
The best music is the kind you make yourself and Michigan’s largest instrument seller has a wide range of instruments and accessories for the accomplished or novice musician.

Heritage Guitar Inc. – Kalamazoo, MI
Heritage manufacturers Custom Carved Hollow Body Guitars, Semi Hollow Body Guitars, and Solid Body Guitars. This is to say nothing of the countless number of custom instruments made in each of the groups previously mentioned. Banjos, Mandolins, Flat Tops, and Basses, are no longer being produced because of the demand for the guitars mentioned in the above 3 categories.

From the Vine – Exploring Michigan Wineries
Get the only book that celebrates Michigan wine country, wines and winemakers with intriguing behind-the-scene stories, beautiful photographs and interesting side features (192 page, hard-cover book).

Harry Goldson – Suttons Bay, MI
Harry says that music is now more fun than ever, because now he is playing what he wants to play in a way he thinks it should sound, and what a sound it is! Harry’s eighth album Flirtations is now available.

Earthwork Music
The Earthwork Music collective believes in the intrinsic and historical power of music to raise both community and self-awareness and serves to facilitate and encourage original music in the state of Michigan and beyond. Give Michigan music!

Glenn Wolff Studio – Traverse City, MI
Welcome to the Glenn Wolff Studio Store. The shelves are stocked with prints, original art, and music by Glenn and a few friends. Come on in and look around. We never close, and we are offering free shipping for the month of December.

Log Art Inc – Boyne City, MI
Welcome to Log Art Inc.’s Gallery which features samples of our line of fine-crafted rustic furniture and accessories. This sampling will give you a sense of the impeccable quality and craftsmanship that have come to be our trademark, “Lodge Look of Northern Michigan.” Our design and building skills are of heirloom quality and the finest made in Michigan. We welcome custom orders and enjoy working with our clients to help build their dreams.

The Art of Karen M Smith – Lapeer, MI
Original paintings are available on this website, and listed for auction on Ebay. Many paintings available at Gallery 194 in downtown Lapeer.

Michigan History Magazine – Lansing, MI
Published since 1917, Michigan History is about and a part of Michigan’s fascinating past. Every colorful 64-page issue tells the exciting stories of Michigan people and their impact on their communities, the nation and the world. Michigan History overflows with intriguing feature articles, bold illustrations and departments highlighting history-related books, travel and events six time each year.

Hollander’s – Ann Arbor, MI
Since 1991, when the store first opened, Hollander’s has become one of the leading and largest sources in the country for unique decorative papers and bookbinding supplies. It is also well known for its outstanding offerings in book and paper arts workshops. In addition, Hollander’s has grown as a retail store, specializing in stationery items ranging from journals and photo albums to cards and unique gifts.

Nature’s Way Woodworking – Alberta, MI
We design beautiful furniture and gifts made with rare birdseye maple wood. Our fine hand crafted items are locally made in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, by our very own wood turning and wood designer expert: Dave Stimac. One look at our quality wooden gifts and accessories will bring you back again and again to see what’s new in our latest line of weather instruments, barometers, clocks, dining room sets and kitchen items. Each item is a one-of-a kind work of art that you and your family will cherish for years to come.

Clothing & Jewelry
Yooper Steez – Marquette, MI
Steez: Style with ease! We believe everyone who lives in the U.P., or loves the U.P., should have a cool U.P. t-shirt. The way we see it, it doesn’t need words. Take the Nike logo for example, they don’t have “Just do it” under the swoosh. And the U.P. is the same. It has enough presence to stand on it’s own. In our opinion we expect people to recognize it, we shouldn’t have to tell them, they should know!

Aurora Borealis Designs – Leland, MI
Aurora Borealis Designs of Leland, Michigan hand crafts unique jewelry from beach glass, beach stones and silver.

Kathy Fagan Handbags – Okemos, MI
Welcome to Kathy Fagan Handbags—chic and charming bags for every occasion. Individually designed and handcrafted, each handbag exudes elegance and a touch of cheeky charm. Indulge in the chillier seasons’ most crucial and decadent accessory, the fur handbag. Made from vintage and new fur pieces, each bag is one-of-a-kind—they are true collectors’ items.

baabaaZuzu – Lake Leelanau, MI
Hats, mittens, scarves, jackets, purses and bags, posy pins, christmas stockings and more are handcrafted in beautiful recycled wool… each a work of art.

Pure Detroit – Detroit, MI
Authentic Detroit apparel + unique gifts that represent the 313. Spend an afternoon and shop in the City. Each Pure Detroit store is located in Detroit’s most architecturally significant buildings – the Fisher Building, the Guardian Building and GM Renaissance Center.

Catherine Doll – Sawyer, MI
Located in the popular Harbor Country of southwest Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan, Catherine Doll is 80 miles from downtown Chicago. Sustainable fashion created from repurposed clothing – overdyed, pieced, crushed, tied, clamped, taken apart and put back together again. Each piece is one-of-a-kind.

Food, Dining & Drink
Zingerman’s – Ann Arbor, MI
Send great food anywhere in America. Gift boxes of bread, cheese, pastry, olive oil, vinegar and more. You really can taste the difference.

Jampot – Eagle River, MI
Jampot is closed for the season. However, they currently have a full selection of jams,jellies, fruitcakes and truffles available for immediate shipping and the Christmas mail order season.

Sweetie-licious Pie Pantry – Dewitt, MI
Sweetie-licious Pie Pantry is a charming bakery cafe located in downtown DeWitt, Michigan. The vintage ambiance paired with delicious, old-fashioned food makes for a perfect dining or take-out experience. Our fare is created by infusing the best vintage recipes along with the latest taste sensations. All of our foods are homemade, made with only fresh and quality ingredients – no preservatives are ever added. We specialize in retro baked goods, but we have an amazing lunch and dinner menu as well. Simply put, everything we make is truly unique and yummy.

Vintage Michigan Club
Join the Vintage Michigan Club and discover Michigan’s best-kept secret! Enjoy your favorite Michigan wines and reward yourself with special savings. With your lifetime membership you will receive these terrific benefits:

  • Discounts at participating wineries, wine retailers, and restaurants across the state. View the list of participating businesses (PDF).
  • Complimentary Michigan Wines Corkscrew or Etched Michigan Bottle Stopper.
  • Michigan Wine Country magazine, an annual publication with maps to Michigan’s wineries, interesting articles, and all the information you need to enjoy Michigan’s wine country.
  • Monthly email newsletter with the latest Michigan wine-related information.
  • Discounts for selected Michigan wine festivals and events.

Cherry Republic – Glen Arbor & Traverse City, MI
Welcome to Cherry Republic, the land of Life, Liberty, Beaches & Pie! Over 141 gourmet food products made from Michigan cherries to sample, purchase and send as gifts. Cherry Bakery, Cherry Winery, Cherry Cafe and Retail Store. Free gift-boxing.

Leelanau Coffee Roasting Company – Glen Arbor, MI
Leelanau Coffee Roasting has wonderful gifts for all of the special people in your life… Coffee beans! French Presses! Logo Mugs! Grinders! Leelanau Coffee sells all the exciting coffee accessories to make your coffee drinking a true “up north” experience. 2008 marks our Fifteenth Year, and we are proud of our heritage, and excited about the future!

Earthy Delights – Dewitt, MI
Earthy Delights is America’s premier supplier of specialty foods to quality conscious American Chefs. We pioneered the use of overnight delivery to get fresh produce from the farm to the kitchen in the shortest time possible. We are leaders in offering wild-harvested and hand-crafted foods from small harvesters and growers to a larger audience. Now we are bringing this same selection of fine products to the adventurous home chef, using the power of the internet.

Higher Grounds Trading Company – Traverse City, MI
Roasting 100% Fair Trade and Organic Handcrafted Coffees. Check out our great coffee, gifts and gear this holiday season!

Rudy Baggs – Lansing, MI
Rudy Baggs Coffee Roasting Company roasts only world class Arabica coffee and specializes in weekly home delivery.

Pasty Central - Calumet, MI
Order Delicious U.P. Pasties and see why Pasty Central has become a primary starting point for many visitors to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Fresh from the U.P. to you! Great gifts!

Stone House Bread – Traverse City, MI
Our promise is the freshest bread in the North, made every morning with the finest organic flour—fragrant, crusty loaves with the sweet tang of sourdough. The baguettes and boules that emerge from our venerable Matador oven (built in Stuttgart when John Kennedy was president) will prompt memories of morning walks in Paris and Rome. We believe you’ll say, with celebration: Now that’s an honest loaf of bread!

Eden Foods – Clinton, MI
The finest locally grown and organic foods since 1968. Michigan organic beans, processed fruits and juices, pastas, whole grains, Edensoy, vegetable oils, vinegars, soy sauces, misos, snack mixes, teas, dried fruits, popcorn, etc. Buy on-line.

Grocers Daughter Chocolates – Empire, MI
Our artisan, hand-made chocolates and hand-dipped truffles are made with many locally grown/blended products such as herbs, spices, berries, spirits, coffees, teas and nuts. We use no artificial flavors or preservatives, and we buy locally when it is possible.

The Great American Pretzel Company – Howell, MI
At The Great American Pretzel Company ® we make the best gourmet Chocolate Covered Pretzels in America. Our products are made using only the finest milk, dark and white chocolates, the freshest pretzels and highest quality ingredients. Our beautifully packaged, made-to-order pretzels make a perfectly decedent gift for someone special or an indulgent treat for oneself. 1-866-889-5778

Leelanau Peninsula Vinter’s Association – Leelanau county
The mission of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association (LPVA) is to help spread the word about all the good things happening here in our corner of paradise. Our cool-climate, Michigan wines have been winning more national and international awards and praise each and every year. Leelanau County wines and vineyard tours make the perfect gift.

Pioneer Wine Trail – Southeast MI
Southeastern Michigan’s Pioneer wine making region is a great place to spend a few hours…or a few days! The beautiful rolling Irish Hills, many lakes and Hidden Lake Gardens are right along the trail. Relax, savor our wines, stop for some antiquing and perhaps stay in one of the many Bed and Breakfast inns in the area.

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail – Southwest MI
Discover the world of wine in your own backyard by visiting our tasting rooms nestled among the rolling hills and inland lakes. We are a short ride from our harbor towns of New Buffalo, St. Joseph, South Haven, and Saugatuck. Enjoy award winning Michigan wines as spectacular as our sunsets on the beach.

Wineries of Old Mission – Traverse City, MI
Jutting north between the azure arms of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay lies Old Mission Peninsula. Situated at the globe’s 45th parallel – the ideal climate for growing varietal wine grapes – the seven distinct wineries that comprise this stunning appellation have been well recognized by international wine enthusiasts. Discover the beauty of the Old Mission Peninsula and experience its award-winning wines: Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gewürztraminer, sparkling varieties and the prestigious ice wines.

Home & Garden
Ciao Bella – Petoskey, MI
Garden and home products and services personally chosen to appeal to one’s pursuit of the well-lived life, no matter how great your dream or how small our product.

Spa & Pampering
The Great Lakes Natural Soap Company – Canton, MI
The Great Lakes Natural Soap Company is a Michigan-based producer of top quality natural soap. All of our soaps are handcrafted, in small batches, using premium ingredients and exceptional quality control. No two soaps will ever be exactly alike. Great for gifts!

Little Black Book of Beauty – Detroit, MI
Looking for a new Michigan salon or spa? Or a great skin care provider or personal trainer? Or any other hair, make up and beauty related therapy? Our guide to beauty services will help you find whatever products and treatments you’re after.

Two Bees Candles
100% Beeswax, all natural candles. Free of fragrances, chemicals, paraffin. Great Lakes area beeswax, with the natural aroma of honey from the hive.

Sports & Recreation
Old AuSable Fly Shop & Old AuSable Outdoors – Grayling, MI
Old AuSable Fly shop has Scott, St.Croix, Keystone & TFO Rods Ross, SA, TFO and Bailey Reels. Fish Pond, Pacific Fly, Logo shirts & hats, Dan Bailey Waders, Fly tying materials. Any gizmo or accessory you need! Old AuSable Outdoors is a full service fly fishing pro shop, a complete paddlesports center and a sundries shop with unique items including art, books and gifts with a Northern Michigan flair. We are located on the banks of the beautiful AuSable River.

Lee’s Adventure Sports – Portage, MI
Lee’s Adventure Sports is a family owned Southwest Michigan outdoor sports gear business that was started in December of 1954 by Bill and Evelyn Lee. Lee’s is presently located at 311 West Kilgore Road and being run by Skip and Chris Lee, the next generation. We offer outdoor sports gear product mix of camping, kayaking, hiking, backpacking, skis, snowboards, xc skis, snowshoes, canoes, kayaks, footwear, travel gear, luggage and the clothing to do it all in. Performance and quality is in all of our products.

Bay de Noc Lure Company – Gladstone, MI
Ice fishing and saltwater fishing may not have much in common, but the fishing lures found at the Swedish Pimple website can be used for both ice fishing and saltwater fishing. Ideal lures for saltwater fishing include the Swedish Pimple, Swedish Pimple Ice, Do-Jigger, Laker Taker and the Flutter Laker Taker. On your next excursion, include some of our fishing lures in your saltwater fishing tackle. You’ll be surprised at how many limit catches they produce.

Indian Country Sports – L’Anse – MI
Indian Country Sports is a family owned and operated retail sporting goods business located on the shores of Lake Superior in beautiful downtown L’Anse serving fishing, hunting, and outdoor enthusiasts since 1968.

Toys & Hobbies
Down to Earth Toys – Ortonville, MI
Why Down To Earth Toys? Over 90% of our toys are Made in USA! Offering top quality Wooden and Natural toys made in the USA.We feel that protecting your child, while also supporting America’s economy, are of utmost importance. Whether you are looking for baby toys made in USA, toddler toys, or outdoor toys… know that you have found a store who is dedicated to offering you toys that you will feel great about giving!

Enerdyne Science & Nature Store – Suttons Bay, MI
Gifts for all ages! Enerdyne’s website exists to introduce you to our science and nature store and its products. We also provide interesting information about various science/nature topics. We’d love to have you stop in and visit Enerdyne for your gifting needs!

Drueke – Ludington, MI
The Drueke Company is America’s oldest manufacturer of traditional board games. The chess boards and chess accessories that we offer are second-to-none. Our reputation for quality chess sets inspired us to produce a variety of classic games for our customers to enjoy. Our product line includes action games, backgammon, cribbage, dominos, checkers, game boxes, chess tables and wooden accessories.

Michigan Books: Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Mostly True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka

knuckleheadKnucklehead: Tall Tales and Mostly True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka (Viking) — In this lively and entertaining story about growing up in Flint as the second of six brothers, Scieszka lived in a rambunctious household filled with pranks and typical boy adventures. The brief and humorous stories fit the wonderful illustrations perfectly, suiting Scieszka’s mission of reaching the reluctant reader. The award-winning author of The Stinky Cheese Man, Scieszka was recently named the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress.

How did Jon Scieszka get so funny, anyway? Growing up as one of six brothers was a good start, but that was just the beginning. Throw in Catholic school, lots of comic books, lazy summers at the lake with time to kill, babysitting misadventures, TV shows, jokes told at family dinner, and the result is Knucklehead. Part memoir, part scrapbook, this hilarious trip down memory lane provides a unique glimpse into the formation of a creative mind and a free spirit.

Read the Sunday Book review in The New York Times: The Stinky Cheese Kid:

Scieszka gets children, and he gets their humor. Especially boy humor. He tells the truth about what really goes on when parents aren’t looking. (Chapter 34, “Fire”: “There is something about boys and fire that is like fish and water, birds and air, cats and hairballs. They just go together.” Good thing Scieszka’s mom was a nurse.

It goes on to mention:

Even though this is a book for kids, its ideal readers may be men over 40 who won’t believe anyone wrote this stuff down.

To learn more about Michigan author Jon Scieszka check out his page on Wikipedia.

More Michigan Notable Books! The Michigan Notable Books program annually selects 20 of the most notable books published in the year. The selections are reflective of Michigan’s diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experience. You can click to view more Notable Books featured on Absolute Michigan and learn more about the program at www.michigan.gov/notablebooks.

Michigan Books: Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar Movement by Carl Oglesby

Ravens in the StormRavens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar Movement by Carl Oglesby (Scribner) — In this powerful first-person account of the Students for a Democratic Society (S.D.S.) and the University of Michigan during the 1960s anti-war movement, Oglesby draws from more than 4,000 pages of government intelligence on himself and the organization he led. As a former employee in the defense industry with high security clearance, Oglesby became president of S.D.S. and a leading anti-war spokesman; his centrist stance on many issues made him unpopular with S.D.S.’ more militant members.

In 1964, Carl Oglesby, a young copywriter for a Michigan-based defense contractor, was asked by a local Democratic congressman to draft a campaign paper on the Vietnam War. Oglesby’s report argued that the conflict was misplaced and unwinnable. He had little idea that its subsequent publication would put him on a fast track to becoming the president of the now-legendary protest movement Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In this book, Oglesby shares the triumphs and tribulations of an organization that burgeoned across America, only to collapse in the face of surveillance by the U.S. government and infighting.

As an SDS leader, Oglesby spoke on the same platform as Coretta Scott King and Benjamin Spock at the storied 1965 antiwar demonstration in Washington, D.C. He traveled to war-ravaged Vietnam and to the international war crimes tribunal in Scandinavia, where he met with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. He helped initiate the Venceremos Brigade, which dispatched thousands of American students to bring in the Cuban sugar harvest. He reluctantly participated in the protest outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention and was a witness for the defense at the trial of the Chicago Seven the following year. Eventually, after extensive battles with those in SDS who saw its future more as a vanguard guerrilla group than as an open mass movement, Oglesby was drummed out of the organization. Shortly after, it collapsed when key members of its leadership quit to set up the Weather Underground.

This beautifully written and elegiac memoir is rich in contemporary echoes as America once again must come to terms with an ill-conceived military adventure abroad. Carl Oglesby warns of the destructive frustrations of a peace campaign unable to achieve its goals. But above all, he captures the joyful liberation of joining together to take a stand for what is right and just — the soaring and swooping of a protest movement in full flight, like ravens in a storm.

If this title has your interest then check out this article in the New York Times and then you also may want to learn more about the author on Wikipedia.

More Michigan Notable Books! The Michigan Notable Books program annually selects 20 of the most notable books published in the year. The selections are reflective of Michigan’s diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experience. You can click to view more Notable Books featured on Absolute Michigan and learn more about the program at www.michigan.gov/notablebooks.

Michigan Books: War as They Knew It: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and America in a Time of Unrest by Michael Rosenberg

WAR AS THEY KNEW ITWar as They Knew It: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and America in a Time of Unrest by Michael Rosenberg (Grand Central Publishing) — The greatest years of the storied football rivalry between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University took place in the late 1960s and early 1970s amidst campus unrest, Vietnam War protests and great political and social upheaval. More than just a history of the rivalry, Rosenberg integrates the story of the two iconic head coaches with the unfolding national dramas of the era.

To read an excerpt from the book visit newsstand.com.

Fore more information regarding the author Michael Rosenberg visit his website www.michael-rosenberg.com. Dig a little deeper into the following articles and reviews on these websites: The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and mlive.com.

More Michigan Notable Books! The Michigan Notable Books program annually selects 20 of the most notable books published in the year. The selections are reflective of Michigan’s diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experience. You can click to view more Notable Books featured on Absolute Michigan and learn more about the program at www.michigan.gov/notablebooks.

Michigan Books: The Model T: A Centennial History by Robert Casey

modeltThe Model T: A Centennial History by Robert Casey (Johns Hopkins University Press) — Debuting in 1908 as the first mass-produced and truly affordable car, the Ford Model T quickly revolutionized automotive design, engineering, manufacturing and sales, and American society as a whole. Complete with historic photographs and color advertisements, many from the Benson Ford Research Center in Dearborn, Casey details the story and technological innovations of this great American icon.

“I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and take care of. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one—and enjoy with his family the blessings of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.”—Henry Ford First rolled out in 1908 with an $850 price tag, the Model T Ford was the nation’s first mass-produced, affordable, and versatile vehicle. It made Americans mobile as never before, spurred a revolution in manufacturing methods, and marked a sea change in automotive design and engineering. Just in time for the centennial celebration of the Model T, Robert Casey captures the remarkable story of that car’s history and development and of its long-lasting impact on America. Here are the people who built the Model T and how, the folks who purchased it and why, and the profound technological leaps in mass production and mass consumption that we rightly associate with the Model T. Casey discusses how the car was designed, built, sold, and driven, as well as how owners tinkered with it. He describes the experience of driving a Model T and explains how a few engineering innovations—a one-piece cylinder block with detachable cylinder head, a clever flexible suspension system, the use of lightweight vanadium alloy steel—led to the car’s reliability and popularity and spurred innovations across the motor vehicle industry. Richly illustrated with archival photos from The Henry Ford—many never before published—The Model T is the definitive history of an iconographic piece of American technology.

Robert Casey is the curator of transportation at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. They have a really cool online Model T exhibit with resources for teachers to bring into their classrooms. Jack Lessenberry interviews the author and you can listen to it on Jack’s blog – Jack Lessenberry’s Essays and Interviews. Also be sure to check out the following articles that appeared in the New York Times, the L.A. Times and on MotorCities National Heritage Area.

More Michigan Notable Books! The Michigan Notable Books program annually selects 20 of the most notable books published in the year. The selections are reflective of Michigan’s diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experience. You can click to view more Notable Books featured on Absolute Michigan and learn more about the program at www.michigan.gov/notablebooks.

Michigifts: Historic Michigan Travel Guide 4th Edition

Michigan Historic Travel  GuideNeed a good holiday present or stocking stuffer? The Historic Michigan Travel Guide – at only $9.95 – may be just the ticket for your loved one interested in history!

Traveling the historic sites of Michigan just got a lot easier. The Historical Society of Michigan‘s Historic Michigan Travel Guide provides information on hundreds of local historical destinations. The Guide is available for retail sale at all 92 Michigan Meijer stores across the state, any local bookstore or on-line from the Historical Society of Michigan.

To order securely on-line visit http://www.hsmichigan.org/travelGuide.php .

To find your closest Meijer store visit www.meijer.com The Historic Michigan Travel Guide is located in the check-out aisles alongside the display of local and regional maps.

The Guide provides key information travelers need to know about hundreds of historic locations, including operating hours, admission fees, highlights of exhibits and collections. Meijer, the Michigan based supercenter retailer, provided the funding to allow the Historical Society of Michigan to update its Travel Guide after nearly 30 years since its last edition. By selling the Guide, Meijer hopes to get this valuable tool into the hands of Michigan customers and visitors alike as they travel across our state.

Next time you visit Meijer take a look at the Historic Michigan Travel Guide as you check out. It makes a wonderful gift to anyone who values Michigan’s rich history!

Check out the Absolute Michigan Holiday Gift Guide for other great ideas!

Michigan Books: Measure of the Heart: A Father’s Alzheimer’s, a Daughter’s Return by Mary Ellen Geist

Measure of the HeartIn this tender memoir, Geist details her experiences as she gave up her job and returned home to Northern Michigan to take care of her ailing father stricken with Alzheimer’s. Geist deftly describes the painful hardships of the disease and the factors that influenced her decision to return home, and shares the blessings of growing closer to both her parents.

Mary Ellen Geist decided to leave her job as a CBS Radio anchor to return home to Michigan when her father’s Alzheimer’s got to be too much for her mother to shoulder alone. She chose to live her life by a different set of priorities: to be guided by her heart, not by outside accomplishment and recognition.

The New York Times wrote a front page story on Mary Ellen on Thanksgiving 2005. It was one of the most e-mailed stories for the month. Through her own story and through interviews with doctors and other women who’ve followed the “Daughter Track”–leaving a job to care for an aging parent–Geist offers emotional insights on how to encourage interaction with the loved one you’re caring for; how to determine daily tasks that are achievable and rewarding; how the personality of the patient affects the caregiving and the progression of the diseases; as well as invaluable advice about how caregivers can take care of themselves while accomplishing the Herculean task of constantly caring for others.

Geist’s years in journalism allow her to report on Boomers’ caretaking dilemmas with professional objectivity, and her warm voice brings compassion and insight to one of the most difficult stituations a son or daughter may face during his or her life.

Listen to an audio interview with Mary Ellen Geist from ‘The Diane Rehm Show‘ and read the article “”Measure of the Heart” author Mary Ellen Geist talks about her dad’s battle with Alzheimer’s” on mlive.com.

More Michigan Notable Books! The Michigan Notable Books program annually selects 20 of the most notable books published in the year. The selections are reflective of Michigan’s diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experience. You can click to view more Notable Books featured on Absolute Michigan and learn more about the program at www.michigan.gov/notablebooks.