Michigan is truly a "Great Lake State": the two peninsulas, many islands, and 3,100 miles of shoreline on four of the Great Lakes give the state a unique location and a diverse physical environment. The natural landscape is largely the result of erosion and deposition of surface materials during the Great Ice Age. Glacial ridges alternate with till plains and lake bottoms to give Michigan a varied topography and great contrasts in soil fertility. The book, through the use of text, photographs, and maps (drawn especially for this volume by Sherman Hollander), stresses the relationships between this varied natural resource base and the economic, social, and political geography of Michigan. Emphasis is placed on the demographic character, the historical background, and the natural and human resources that have led to Michigan becoming one of the principal manufacturing states in the United States. The book also looks at agriculture and recreation and tourism, which, along with manufacturing, are the major bases of the state's economic development. The regional coverage focuses on the urban dominance of Detroit. This comprehensive overview of Michigan geography closes with an analysis of some of the major quality of life issues in the state and a short glimpse into the future.
Introduction -- Michigan's Unique Shape and Location -- The Population -- Population: Number, Distribution, and Growth Trends -- Demographic and Ethnic Characteristics -- The Environmental and Natural Resource Bases -- The Significance of the Glacial Heritage -- Environmental Significance of a Great Lakes Location -- Mineral Resources -- Patterns of Human Activity -- Economic Development -- The Economy Today -- Transportation and Trade Patterns -- Regional Patterns -- Metropolitan Detroit -- The Future -- Some Major Quality of Life Issues -- Michigan Tomorrow