i could have done without a great deal of the love stories (i use the plural b/c most comments seem to refer to the affair, but the marriage is also ai could have done without a great deal of the love stories (i use the plural b/c most comments seem to refer to the affair, but the marriage is also a different kind of love story), but the POW and post-war stories are spectacular, and enough to bump my rating higher. i was particularly impressed and moved by the post-war stories of the japanese and the supporting australian characters, and their exploration of memory and meaning. ...more
well written, researched, and organized. informative with a broad assessment of the current state of the city, with a solid historical perspective.
it'well written, researched, and organized. informative with a broad assessment of the current state of the city, with a solid historical perspective.
it's impossible for me not to compare this to charlie leduff's "detroit: an american autopsy" which was so sensational, personal, and not very credible (leduff, a suburbanite, poses like a detroiter and makes claims about places both in and outside the city that i also know, and find his assessments to be flat-out wrong). binelli, by contrast, is also from the suburbs, and makes no claim otherwise (though lives in the city now) and i think he fairly represents many of the things that i also have first-hand knowledge of. also, this book has: chapter titles, an index, and a bibliography. all missing from leduff's brand of long format "journalism."
if you've read leduff's book, i highly recommend you also read this, for a more measured account of of the city, it's past, and even some of the high-profile criminal cases also covered by leduff (like kwame's). this is in no way a rosy depiction of detroit or of the state of the economy in michigan. on the contrary: the picture remains quite bleak, but it's it's one that's well researched and written. if you're thinking about reading leduff's book: don't. read this instead. ...more
disgustingly sensational. written like a hard-boiled novel. zero civic history or analysis. but it is entertaining.
i was hoping this book would makedisgustingly sensational. written like a hard-boiled novel. zero civic history or analysis. but it is entertaining.
i was hoping this book would make me better informed about the history and current situation, but it just reinforces the unsubstantiated accusations i've heard all my life. i knew more about the kilpatrick situation from barely following local news during the scandal, and it's deeply disappointing that a lauded journalist didn't do more research. i would have also really liked real info about what happened during the reign of coleman young. there's obviously a long and terrible history of corruption and cronyism, but i'd like some real research and info about it, and not another echo of "you know, corrupt!"
growing up in the area, and living there into my 30s, it's difficult not to have a personal reaction to this book. i do take a little offense to the author's claim of being a detroiter, but he's as suburban as i am. i know all the areas he's ever lived in very well, and they're not detroit. i've never lived in the city proper, i have been to many of the areas he described and have had close friends live in some of them. it's not as bad as he makes it out to be, though some of the suburban areas he talks about are pretty bad, too. the arson is a uniquely detroit issue, and that is awful beyond belief with far-reaching and terrible consequences. the depopulation also seems to be a uniquely detrot issues, especially as the american city is otherwise experiencing a bit of a renaissance. he does paint a vivid scene describing nature reclaiming much of the abandoned city, but he doesn't talk at all about the discussion the city has had about forceable relocating residents to contract and reorganize utilities and services. THAT would have been interesting. i think the best thing he writes is in the prologue: the entire US should take detroit as a warning. this is what can happen when you don't diversify your economy. this is what happens when you defund public services (namely, education and transportation). though again, there's little to back up his claims. and of course, this is what happens when you put private interest above that of the citizens.
i mentioned to someone that it read like "bart's people," and they easily found this on the internet: http://imgur.com/a0q66tL