Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

Most of Richard Dorson’s thirty years as folklorist have been spent collecting tales and legends in the remote backcountry, far from the centers of population. For this book he extended his search for folk traditions to one of the most heavily industrialized sections of the United States. Can folklore be found, he wondered, in the Calumet Region of northwest Indiana? Does it exist among the steelworkers, ethnic groups, and blacks in Gary, Whiting, East Chicago, and Hammond?

In his usual entertaining style, Dorson shows that a rich and varied folklore exists in the region. Although it differs from that of rural people, it is equally vital. Much of this urban lore finds expression in conversational anecdotes and stories that deal with pressing issues: the flight from the inner city, crime in the streets, working conditions in the steel mills, the maintenance of ethnic identity, the place of blacks in a predominantly white society. The folklore reveals strongly held attitudes such as the loathing of industrial work, resistance to assimilation, and black adoption of middle-class-white values.

Millworkers and mill executives, housewives, ethnic performers, storekeepers, and preachers tell their stories about the region. The concerns that occupy them affect city dwellers throughout the United States. Land of the Millrats, though it depicts a special place, speaks for much of America.