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Waiting for the Morning Train (Great Lakes Books)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  77 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Bruce Catton, whose name is identified with Civil War history, grew up in Benzonia, Michigan, probably the only town within two hundred miles, he says, not founded to cash in on the lumber boom. In this memoir, Catton remembers his youth, his family, his home town, and his coming of age.

With nostalgia, warmth, and humor, Catton recalls it all with a wealth of detail: the l
Paperback, 280 pages
Published August 1st 1987 by Wayne State University Press (first published 1972)
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Aug 20, 2011 Marj rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I have never read his Civil War books as I have little interest in it but I just might have to read one so I can enjoy his writing again. He writes with clarity, style and gentle humor and takes us back to the time in Michigan when the lumber industry has died and things are in great transition. I love that part of Michigan and my ancestors were a part of that industry which he brought to life for me in a way no other writer has. His reflections on where this country is headed ...more
Aug 04, 2013 Tom rated it it was amazing
Delightful is one word that comes to mind, in reading of bygone days so aptly described by Catton. Yet, disturbing, comes to mind as well, because of Catton's keen political insights into a world that wantonly cut down its timber and mined its copper because technology knows only one speed, and that's full-throtle. His reflections on WW1 and subsequent wars are profound and revealing - there is a madness in the human race, a lust for death of others, perhaps to postpone our own. He reminds the r ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Laurie rated it really liked it
I swear, Bruce Catton could have written a text-book on the lives of dust mites and I would read it cover to cover. His writing is clear and lucid, and some of the best of it can stay with you long after you close the book. I first read his great Civil War histories more than 30 years ago. This memoir gives you something of the man himself, and another opportunity to treat yourself to a view of the world through his pen.

What has surprised me most about this book is that he writes so little abo
Feb 16, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it
Review from an old blog of mine focusing on trains:

Bruce Catton, Waiting for the Morning Train: An American Boyhood (Great Lakes Books, 1972; republished by Wayne State Univ. Press, 1987)

Although trains appear in the title, this isn't technically a railroad book. Instead, the author tells about growing up in small towns in upper Michigan in the early years of the 20th century, the waning days of the White Pine logging industry. The Morning Train is a metaphor for leaving home as one goes out in
Alice Harbin
NF/A Tells of his growning up in Benzonia, MI, son of an educator who was instrumental in organizing a preparatory school-academy which he attended. He gives much information about the lumbermen and the destruction of the wilderness. He especially emphasizes the changes in that industry which led to it’s end; that is faster and more efficient ways to transport the logs, cut the logs, and use more than just pine wood. Then the forests were gone. This began a theme which was about the changes that ...more
Richard Noble
Oct 09, 2013 Richard Noble rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Yes
I bought this book at Torch Lake, Michigan in the early 1980's. The town Catton writes about, Benzonia, is near Torch Lake. Catton evokes a time long past in this autobiography of his youth in northern Michigan. He writes as an old man looking back at his childhood and puts his childhood in the context of the then-present time, the 1960's. It is interesting to see how a historian writes historically about his own life. I have re-read this book several times.
Sep 11, 2011 Marlene rated it really liked it
There were great anecdotal stories of the Benzonia area.
Sep 01, 2016 Sara rated it really liked it
Clear, simple, and vivid descriptions of the author's youth in a small town in rural northern Michigan at the turn of the 20th century. His insights on the larger trends in history he has observed and studied are, for the most part, successfully interwoven with his personal story and the history of this small town and college. Catton also has a subtle humor that added to my enjoyment.

Note that it was jarring, though I guess not surprising given the publication date/author's age, that he at time
50 States and at least 50 Authors 2016 Reading Challenge. MICHIGAN.

Bruce Catton is best known as a historian who writes about the Civil War. However, this is a combination memoir of his childhood and youth growing up in Benzonia, Michigan and a history of the area emphasizing the impact of the logging industry. Having lived in Michigan for 22 years it was interesting to learn about the history of this area.
Sean Chick
May 24, 2012 Sean Chick rated it it was ok
I love Catton's Civil War books and the idea of this one intrigued me. In all truth there are brilliant moments, where Catton's poetry and powers of observation shine through. Trouble is the book needed an editor. Much of it is just plain boring and it seems to meander quite a bit. Same to, for his main lament, that we have lost the dream of progress, is more evident now than ever before.
Kent District Library
Nov 20, 2015 Kent District Library is currently reading it
Join us for a friendly, informal discussion of some good books. This month's selection is "Waiting for the Morning Train" by Bruce Catton. For adults. Discussion will take place at Kent District Library's Lowell Branch on October 11, 2016 from 10-11:30 am.
Jan 02, 2013 Debby rated it it was ok
Well, I loved the beginning, the history, the culture. Then I enjoyed the early days around Crystal Lake. Then Tom borrowed the book, and I haven't gotten back to it, and really don't feel compelled to do so.
Oct 12, 2016 Michael rated it liked it
A good history of life in northwest lower Michigan at the turn of the last century.
Jul 28, 2013 Lehtomaki rated it liked it
Shelves: toread-2013
Melissa Seitz
May 12, 2014 Melissa Seitz rated it it was amazing
I loved this book about his childhood, and Catton's connections between history and Northern Michigan are exquisite.
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Catton was known as a narrative historian who specialized in popular histories that emphasized the colorful characters and vignettes of history, in addition to the simple dates, facts, and analysis. His works, although well-researched, were generally not presented in a rigorous academic style, supported by footnotes. In the long line of Civil War historians, Catton is arguably the most prolific an ...more
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“In the 1860s the leaders of the cotton belt made one of the most prodigious miscalculations in recorded history. On the eve of the era of applied technologies, in which more and more work is done with fewer people and less effort, they made war to preserve the day of chattel slavery - the era of gang labor, with its reliance on the same use of human muscles that built the pyramids. The lost cause was lost before it started to fight. Inability to see what is going on in the world can be costly.” 4 likes
“Go up along the eastern side of Lake Michigan, steer northeast when the land bends away at Point Betsie, and you come before long to Sleeping Bear Point–an incredible flat-topped sand dune rising five hundred feet above the level of the lake and going north for two miles or more. It looks out over the dark water and the islands that lie just offshore, and in the late afternoon the sunlight strikes it and the golden sand turns white, with a pink overlay when the light is just so, and little cloud shadows slide along its face, blue-gray as evening sets in. Sleeping Bear looks eternal, although it is not; this lake took its present shape no more than two or three thousand years ago, and Sleeping Bear is slowly drifting off to the east as the wind shifts its grains of sand, swirling them up one side and dropping them on the other; in a few centuries it will be very different, if indeed it is there at all. Yet if this is a reminder that this part of the earth is still being remodeled it is also a hint that the spirit back of the remodeling may be worth knowing. In the way this shining dune looks west toward the storms and the sunsets there is a profound serenity, an unworried affirmation that comes from seeing beyond time and mischance. A woman I know says that to look at the Sleeping Bear late in the day is to feel the same emotion that comes when you listen to Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, and she is entirely right. The message is the same. The only trouble is that you have to compose a planet, or great music, to say it persuasively. Maybe man–some men, anyway–was made in the image of God, after all.” 4 likes
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