Belt Publishing is announcing the upcoming release of “Car Bombs to Cookie Tables: The Youngstown Anthology” (Belt Publishing, May 2015). The book’s official launch will occur from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 29 at the B&O Station Banquet Hall, 530 Mahoning Ave., Youngstown.
Like other books from Belt Publishing, including “A Detroit Anthology” and “Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology,” “Car Bombs to Cookie Tables” resists boosterism. Instead, the book is filled with stories born of struggle and conflict, stories that have shaped the values and lives of people from the Mahoning Valley.
The editors, Youngstown natives Jacqueline Marino and Will Miller, said they wanted to publish works that confronted stereotypes and relayed fresh insights on growing up, working, and making art in Youngstown.
“Car Bombs to Cookie Tables: The Youngstown Anthology” includes an original story by “Modern Family” star and Youngstown native Ed O’Neill, as well as contributions by leading literary voices, including the novelist and short-story writer Christopher Barzak and Rust Belt poet Rochelle Hurt. Former Ohio State football star Maurice Clarett penned a personal essay about what he’s learned on the route from promise to prison to redemption. A number of documentary photographers, including Whitney Tressel, who shoots for Esquire and other national magazines, also contributed works.
“We weren’t looking for nostalgia,” Marino said. “We were looking for brave, honest accounts about how being from Youngstown has influenced people’s lives and art.”
Miller said he wanted to show that Youngstown’s stories even transcend city limits. “While this volume is clearly written for those who know Youngstown, the stories will reach beyond Northeast Ohio,” he said. “As I travel across the county, I run into people who are fascinated by what they know of Youngstown and eager to know more. Through this book, they’ll be able to see and hear a side of the city only natives truly know.”
In age, the book’s 45 contributors span seven decades. It includes original narrative nonfiction by Sarah Stankorb and C Lee Tressel, as well as essays by people who have dedicated part of their lives to improving the Mahoning Valley, including former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and Business Journal Publisher Andrea Wood. Documentary filmmaker Eric Murphy shared the inspiration for “Traficant: The Congressman of Crimetown,” and photographers Sean Posey and Matt Campbell, among others, contributed images for the book.
Edward McClelland, author of “Nothin’ but Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times and Hopes of America’s Industrial Heartland,” said, “ ‘Car Bombs to Cookie Tables’ is far more than an elegy for the glory days of the steel industry; it’s also a blueprint for reinventing a city that doesn’t belong on the scrap heap. From a 34-year-old mayor to a 29-year-old Congressman to an urban gardener tending the vacant lot outside her home, young people have more influence in Youngstown than in any other city in America. Their voices are in this book, along with colorful tales of boxers, punk-rock scenesters, steelworkers, and shady politicians, reminding us why it’s impossible to feel as sentimental about suburbia as it is about a struggling Rust Belt hometown.”
For more information, contact co-editors Jacqueline Marino and Will Miller at email@example.com. Marino can also be reached at 216-832-2475 and Miller at 904-495-3574.
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