The major events of the first half of the 20th Century–The Great Depression and World War II–fully engaged U.P. residents for 16 long years. Larry Chabot’s new book from North Harbor Publishing, Saving Our Sons, recalls the U.P.’s Depression recovery through the work of the legendary Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
Barely two months elapsed between President Franklin Roosevelt’s inauguration on March 4, 1933 and the opening of the first CCC camp in the Upper Peninsula. By years end the U.P. had 45 CCC encampments housing over 7,000 personal. Over a ten-year period 50,000 young men went through U.P. CCC camps, the vast majority being local boys who were rescued from lives of poverty and despair while saving our environment.
Readers will learn how the boys were chosen, how CCC camps were organized and managed, how the boys added muscle and weight, got their teeth fixed, and finished their education. The boys learned how to chop down a tree, fix a flat tire, climb a telephone pole, cook a meal, make a bed, brush a trail, build a bridge, fight forest fires, and work together with fellow campers toward common goals. Along the way most of them learned a trade. The CCC boys wages saved their families from financial ruin.
The camps had controversies, to be sure, troublemakers, strikes, political squabbles, lots of injuries and even deaths, but the new life was overwhelmingly good with miracle makeovers and a lifelong bonding among the campers.
Saving Our Sons is illustrated with over 180 photographs and one-of-a-kind maps. Readers will experience the CCC’s accomplishments, many of which are still visible throughout the Upper Peninsula.
Is the time ripe for another CCC-type program? The reader will have plenty of information on which to base an opinion.