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In November, GM CEO Rick Wagoner appeared before Congress to ask
for $25 billion to bail out the struggling Big Three automakers. To
critics like Thomas Freidman and Mitt Romney, it was a sign that the
American auto industry should be led out to pasture; if the Japanese are
better at making cars, they said, then we should let them do it. To
defenders, the loss of the country's largest manufacturing sector would
be an incomprehensible disaster. Nearly every day, the debate rages on
the op-ed pages. Billions of dollars and millions of jobs hang in the

In Why GM Matters, William Holstein goes deep inside GM to
show what's really happening at the country's most iconic corporation.
Where critics say that GM has sat on its hands while the market changed,
Holstein demonstrates that GM has already radically retooled its entire
operation, from manufacturing and cost structure to design. Where
pundits say we'd be better off without GM, he shows how inextricably
linked GM and the nation's economy still are: The country's largest
private buyer of IT, the world's largest buyer of steel, the holder of
pensions for 780,000 Americans, GM accounts for a full 1 percent of our
country's GDP. A dollar spent on GM has profoundly different
consequences from a dollar spent on Toyota.

Following a diverse cast of characters-from Rick Wagoner, the
controversial CEO, to design director Bob Boniface, to Linda Flowers, a
team leader on the line in Kansas City-Holstein examines the state of
GM's health and builds a persuasive argument that GM is essential to our
nation's well-being and, with the right economic climate, ready to
compete with Toyota as one of the biggest global automakers.

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