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Once Upon a Car: The Fall and Resurrection of America’s Big Three Auto Makers — GM, Ford, and Chrysler
By Bill Vlasic
(William Morrow, $27)

New York Times Detroit bureau chief Bill Vlasic’s strong, fly-on-the-wall account of the recent dire days of Detroit’s automotive industry is an eye-opener. Beginning with the financial chaos and inept management plaguing the Big Three at the time of the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Vlasic chronicles the downfall — and rebirth — of one of America’s most important industries, detailing Rick Wagoner’s missteps in the GM boardroom, how a distressed Bill Ford recruited CEO Alan Mulally from Boeing and what really went on behind the scenes at DaimlerChrysler.

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Opening Lines
“When she woke, she was red. Not flushed, not sunburned, but the solid, declarative red of a stop sign.”

When She Woke
By Hillary Jordan
(Algonquin, $25)