Detroit City Is the Place to Be

Detroit City Is the Place to Be : The Afterlife of an American Metropolis

3.84 (1,609 ratings by Goodreads)

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Once America's capitalist dream town, Detroit is our country's greatest urban failure, having fallen the longest and the farthest. But the city's worst crisis yet (and that's saying something) has managed to do the unthinkable: turn the end of days into a laboratory for the future. Urban planners, land speculators, neopastoral agriculturalists, and utopian environmentalists--all have been drawn to Detroit's baroquely decaying, nothing-left-to-lose frontier.With an eye for both the darkly absurd and the radically new, Detroit-area native Mark Binelli has chronicled this convergence. Throughout the city's "museum of neglect"--its swaths of abandoned buildings, its miles of urban prairie--he tracks both the blight and the signs of its repurposing, from the school for pregnant teenagers to a beleaguered UAW local; from metal scrappers and gun-toting vigilantes to artists reclaiming abandoned auto factories; from the organic farming on empty lots to GM's risky wager on the Volt electric car; from firefighters forced by budget cuts to sleep in tents to the mayor's realignment plan (the most ambitious on record) to move residents of half-empty neighborhoods into a viable, new urban center.Sharp and impassioned, "Detroit City Is the Place to Be" is alive with the sense of possibility that comes when a city hits rock bottom. Beyond the usual portrait of crime, poverty, and ruin, we glimpse a longshot future Detroit that is smaller, less segregated, greener, economically diverse, and better functioning--what could be the boldest reimagining of a post-industrial city in our new century. "Detroit City Is the Place to Be "is one of "Publishers Weekly"'s Top 10 Best Books of 2012
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 154.94 x 236.22 x 33.02mm | 362.87g
  • Metropolitan Books
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0805092293
  • 9780805092295
  • 599,372

About Agent Sterling Lord Literistic Mark Binelli

Mark Binelli is the author of the novel "Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die!" and a contributing editor at "Rolling Stone." Born and raised in the Detroit area, he now lives in New York City.
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Review quote

"Magnificent... A crackling rebuttal to ruin porn, those glossy coffee table books that fetishize Detroit's decay... A clear-eyed look at promising recent developments, without any saccharine optimism."
"--The New York Times"
"The single best thing to read if you want to understand what Detroit feels like today."
"--San Francisco Chronicle
"Binelli is excellent writer and a sensitive and careful reporter.... He does a great job of presenting the arc of Detroit's 20th century: its rise as automotive capital of the world, its economic apex in the 1950s and its thudding diminishment."
"--The Wall Street Journal"
"A sharply observed, insightful work of love and fury."
"--The Christian Science Monitor
"Excellent... A stylish, clear-eyed, subtly absurdist panorama... Binelli's engrossing book captures the beauty and nobility of Detroit, and the warmth of its communal life amid hardship and chaos. Binelli also takes full measure of the bizarreness of Detroit's predicament--which is also the bizarreness of a whole nation contemptuously disregarding its achievements."
"--Bookforum""Heartbreaking... Darkly funny and prophetic."
"--Rolling Stone
"Mark Binelli's "Detroit City Is the Place to Be" is part history, part explanation and part profile of a city he knows intimately--he grew up in the Detroit area. Sounds complex? It is, and it should be. The city doesn't need any more labels or quick summaries. It needs someone to put a face on Detroit, to show that it's not rolling over and playing dead. Binelli proves he's up to the task in this refreshing, intriguing work."
""Terrific... A long-overdue and hugely welcome corrective to the one-dimensional narrative of urban decay that has been spewing out of Detroit roughly since 1970... Binelli is equally skeptical of breathless hype and received wisdom, and he can also be very funny."
""Binelli went to Detroit and lived the
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Rating details

1,609 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 21% (337)
4 49% (784)
3 25% (403)
2 4% (70)
1 1% (15)
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