This is the story of rubber, of Thomas William Coyne, and his daughter, the author of Gum-Dipped. Employed for thirty-seven years by the Firestone Tire & Rubber Coompany in Akron, Ohio, young T.W. Coyne moved his family in 1952 to a small Tudor house in Firestone Park, the residential community built in 1916 by Harvey S. Firestone for Firestone employees. Everything in the Park bore the Firestone name--the school, the streets, the stores, the bank, the tires, the clubhouse, the stoves and radios. A huge bronze statue of the founder, Harvey S. Firestone, stood--and still stands--at the entrance on a hill. Working for Firestone and living in Firestone Park, T.W. Coyne thought he and his family were safe, "set for life." But the final act Firestone wrote for Mr. Coyne was very different from the happy scenes early in his career. It comprised demotions, a firing, a union rally cry, a flirtation with suicide, illnesses from chemicals, and despair, and the razing of the plant where he had spent his life. The author discovers her own Firestone legacy as she thinks about her father. It is one family's story, but also a chapter in a larger story about industry and family at a deceptively comfortable time in American History.
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