This is the inside story of the 18-month period in which the incredible, the unthinkable, befell the Detroit-based auto industry in a collapse that very nearly took the state of Michigan with it.

Congress bailing out banks but refusing to help the companies that employed hundreds of thousands of Americans? General Motors and Chrysler, two icons of American industrial might, both forced into bankruptcy?

A team of Free Press reporters spent months compiling the backstage story of decisions and events in Detroit, New York and Washington that rocked Michigan to its economic foundations and, far from the executive suites and corridors of power, forever changed its workaday life.

This is a story that's affected every corner of the state, from the factory towns to the resorts. It's a story of people losing the best jobs they ever had -- and finding their way into more promising careers away from manufacturing.

It's a story, too, of people who will never give up on building better cars and trucks -- and are determined to see Michigan's signature industry stand tall again.

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