Weekend Reading: Detroit City is the Place to Be

detroitcityWe learned growing up that the difference between a mythic place and an equally swell or even better place was often that the mythic place had better writers working for it.  Because the Wolfe pack has a branch in Greater Detroit, we have become familiar with the city and its hinterland over the past year.  What we learned early on was that the actual city bore almost no resemblance to what stuff we read in the broadsheets.  (We know.  What were we thinking?  Reporters? Feature writers?  Facts?).  So on the very weekend of Detroit’s sad collapse into bankruptcy we were happy to be reading Mark Binelli’s take on Motor City.  Binelli, who writes for Rolling Stone, a periodical we have avoided all our life, is a Detroit (suburban) native who gets it right and tells it in best School of Tom Wolfe (no relation -ed.) style.  We blitzed through it speedily and found ourself wishing at the end that Cincinnati desperately needs a writer that good to rejigger both our national  and our self images.

-Nemo Wolfe

Published in: on July 22, 2013 at 10:25 am  Comments (2)  

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  1. I’ve got this book at home to read. Was in the ‘burbs of Detroit this weekend and talked to some people who lived up that way. They agreed with your comment–what people say about Detroit in the papers is very different from what they experience. Their kid was living in one of the “up and coming” areas of the city. They did talk about the big challenges of having a city with a landmass the size of Philadelphia only have about 1/3 of the population of Philly.

    But most frustrating to me is when people say Detroit is dead. More than 600,000 people still live there. It is quite literally twice the size of Cincinnati. Hard to say that’s “dead.” It may make the suburbanites feel better about themselves to say that, but anywhere 600,000 people live is most certainly alive.

  2. What the white suburbanites mean by “dead” is “dead to them”. I agree. Truly annoying. And blind.

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