ABOUT THIS BOOK
The Rust Belt was once the crown of American manufacturing, a symbol of the country’s economic prowess. But now it is named for what it has become: a deteriorating stretch of industrial cities left behind by a post-industrial world. In Dayton: The Rise, Decline, and Transition of an Industrial City, Adam A. Millsap turns his focus to his hometown, an archetypal Rust Belt city, to examine its history and discuss its future.
Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, Millsap’s book explores the economic background of the region made famous by J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. From early twentieth-century optimism, through the Great Depression and post-WWII manufacturing decline, to Dayton now, with its labor-force problems and opioid crisis, Millsap tracks the underlying forces driving the city’s trajectory. Race relations, interstates, suburbanization, climate, crime, geography, and government policies all come into play as Millsap develops a picture of the city, past and present. By examining the past, Millsap proposes a plan for the future, claiming that there is hope for Dayton to thrive again. And if Dayton can rise from its industrial ashes, then perhaps the Rust Belt can shed its stigma and once again become the backbone of American innovation.