Hot Eats and Cool Reads: Book Review: Detroit City Is the Place to Be by Mark Binelli

Nov 15, 2012

Book Review: Detroit City Is the Place to Be by Mark Binelli

Summary from Goodreads:
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, neo-pastoral 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 and Rolling Stone writer 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 the signs of blight repurposed, from the school for pregnant teenagers to the killer ex-con turned street patroller, from the organic farming on empty lots to GM's wager on the Volt electric car and 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 future Detroit that is smaller, less segregated, greener, economically diverse, and better functioning—what might just be the first post-industrial city of our new century.

My Thoughts:
I was super excited when I found out that I won this book from First Reads on Goodreads. Detroit City is the Place to Be, is a great title for this book. It describes how I feel about the city perfectly. I had the chance to go to Detroit with my sister Shannon, in the summer of 2011. We visited the Heidelberg Project, met Tyree Guyton, saw Michigan Central Station, and even ate at an awesome artisan deli in Corktown, called Mudgie's. These are just a few places that makes Detroit, the amazing city it is today and in the future!

This book describes Detroit's history, it's people and what might happen in the future. It mentions true crime stories, info about the failed auto industry, describes various structures and neighborhoods, and corruption within the city government. The descriptions about the city landscape are very accurate and real, even though you really have no idea what's it's like until you see the city with your own two eyes. The author did a fantastic job researching and writing this book and I was hooked from page one.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!

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