Detroit: A Biography

Detroit: A Biography By Scott Martelle, Detroit A Biography At its heyday in the s and s Detroit s status as epicenter of the American auto industry made it a vibrant populous commercial huband then the bottom fell out Detroit A Biography takes a lo
  • Title: Detroit: A Biography
  • Author: Scott Martelle
  • ISBN: 9781569765265
  • Page: 395
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Detroit: A Biography By Scott Martelle, At its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, Detroit s status as epicenter of the American auto industry made it a vibrant, populous, commercial huband then the bottom fell out Detroit A Biography takes a long, unflinching look at the evolution of one of America s great cities, and one of the nation s greatest urban failures This authoritative yet accessible narrative seeks toAt its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, Detroit s status as epicenter of the American auto industry made it a vibrant, populous, commercial hub and then the bottom fell out Detroit A Biography takes a long, unflinching look at the evolution of one of America s great cities, and one of the nation s greatest urban failures This authoritative yet accessible narrative seeks to explain how the city grew to become the heart of American industry and how its utter collapse from nearly two million residents in 1950 to less than 715,000 some six decades later resulted from a confluence of public policies, private industry decisions, and deeply ingrained racism Drawing from U.S Census data and including profiles of individuals who embody the recent struggles and hopes of the city, this book chronicles the evolution of what a modern city once was and what it has become.
    Detroit: A Biography By Scott Martelle,
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      Published :2020-01-07T09:36:57+00:00

    About "Scott Martelle"

    1. Scott Martelle

      A veteran journalist and member of the Los Angeles Times editorial board, Martelle also writes books primarily about overlooked people and events from history His newest is The Madman and the Assassin The Strange Life of Boston Corbett, the Man Who Killed John Wilkes Booth Previous works include The Admiral and the Ambassador One Man s Obsessive Search for the Body of John Paul Jones Detroit A Biography 2012 , about the rise and tremendous fall of a once great American city The Fear Within Spies, Commies, and American Democracy on Trial 2011 , about the first of the Cold War era Smith Act anti communist trials, and Blood Passion The Ludlow Massacre and Class War in the American West 2007 , about a coal strike that left than 75 people dead in showdowns between miners and the Colorado state militia that didn t end until the U.S Army was sent in as peacekeepersMartelle s journalism and book reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Sierra Magazine, Los Angeles magazine, Orange Coast magazine and other outlets He has taught journalism and writing at Chapman University and the University of California Irvine, and is a regular panelist or moderator at literary, journalism and labor history conferences, guest lecturer at colleges, and has been featured on C SPAN s Book TV.Martelle also is a co founder of The Journalism Shop, a group of freelance journalists.

    603 thoughts on “Detroit: A Biography”

    1. I was born in Detroit Lived outside of Detroit for my first 19 years of life and then got the heck out of there It seems that many people had the same idea I did for the same sort of reasons Detroit, was or is messed up However, I still have this weird affection for the city I want it to succeed, thrive and basically become the great city that it deserves to be I m just not willing to stay around and wait for that to happen.Martelle wrote a great book about a damaged city I didn t think this boo [...]


    2. I m from Michigan I ve said before that loving Detroit is like having a sister on drugs You love her, you want the best for her and you ve seen those glimmers of what she could be if she would just make some difficult, but important changes You feel powerless to help, but you still feel like there is something you can still do You just don t know what This book was fantastic It does a very good job of breaking down the SEVERAL factors that led Detroit into it s current situation I highly recomme [...]


    3. So, I wish I could give this 4 stars The writing was fine The subject was engrossing and I am a huge fan of 20th Century Urban history I can only give it one star because of a chronic lack of objectivity throughout the work and a crippling liberal bias that undoes any credibility The facts are very poorly footnoted and seem at times to come out of the ether The author grossly overlooks the widespread corruption in the city of Detroit and blindly places a disproportionate blame on white racism, o [...]


    4. The author, a former staff writer for the LA Times, definitely did his homework on this one, creating a rich story of a city that has tremendous highs and lows, growing and shrinking throughout the years He weaves in current people connected to the city with vibrant figures from the past There s a lot of heartbreak to the story and Martelle doesn t flinch from the ugliness, explaining the factors that led to some of the city s most dramatic events Full review at Yestereeyear


    5. I liked this book well enough It was a thorough look at the total history of Detroit, from the time of Cadillac and Lafayette It was particularly looking for reasons why Detroit started failing following World War II when it was considered the Arsenal of the World Two main factors seem to be at work racism and the short sighted automotive industry The lack of diversification of industry, the decentralization of the auto industry and of course, white flight all make Detroit the abject failure it [...]


    6. Having lived in Western New York most of my life and having distant family in Detroit, I was instantly interested in this book This biography is a good introduction to the history of a city that is needs to be understood by the country Common threads lead the reader through this book, most auspiciously, the rampant racism evident in the history of the city as well as the dangers of lack of regional economic diversity Historic accounts, as well as personal accounts are woven together along with a [...]


    7. I bought this book as a gift for my oldest son who plans to move to Detroit in a few years This book reminded me a lot of Howard Zinn s People s History of the United States It seems Detroit even when it was successful has never known happiness Martelle goes into detail about the pervasive racism that has plagued Detroit from the very beginning so many riots He has portraits of individual residents that are spread throughout the book as well These are very interesting and give an individual and [...]


    8. My brother Tom read his book, then suggested that my wife Shari read it given that she and her family is from the greater Detroit area As she was reading it, she kept saying that I needed to read it, since I am from Ann Arbor and grew up knowing about Detroit, right Wrong I hardly knew anything at all about Detroit and its history A bit embarrassing given that I am a student of history The book does a good job of sharing the history of Detroit from its founding through a number of transitions to [...]


    9. I ve lived in the Detroit area my entire life, so one would think I knew about my hometown Not so I learned a tremendous amount from this book It was engaging and fascinating, at times depressing and others uplifting Detroit is nuanced, complex and this book captures that It sheds light on things and aspects of my life in this town that I hadn t really contemplated Thoroughly enjoyed.


    10. Actual, 4.5 stars Wow, where to begin I have a history with Detroit I grew up in the suburbs and was terrified to go into the city , practiced legal law in the city and taught in the school system I now live in Ann Arbor which, despite protestations to the contrary, is very much a part of the SE Michigan Detroit scene Therefore, I felt depressed many times during this book.Martelle is upfront in that he can t possibly hit on every aspect of Detroit s rich history, especially not when there are s [...]


    11. This is a well researched encyclopedic history, that oddly fails to distinguish Detroit apart from any other post industrial American city, and ends with a boiler plate socioeconomic analysis of what has undermined Detroit and what can be fixed This book does not meet the standard of the better biographical city histories that use details to frame a deeper narrative of the people and characteristics that give a place its distinctiveness, or essence Detroit stands profoundly apart, and deserves t [...]


    12. Growing up in Detroit I would occasionally hear some fact or other, there was a race riot in Detroit in 1943, there was a mayor of Detroit in the 20 s or 30 s whose party was the Ku Klux Klan, that Henry Ford openly distributed copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, etc but if I looked at any of the histories of the city available to me I have one in front of me written by someone at Ford Motor Co there is no mention of these things Scott Martelle s book doesn t just mention these things [...]


    13. so out of all of my books this semester besides gatsby this one I read the most of I probably read like 75% of it So that s pretty impressive for me.ok so if you didn t know I live in Detroit And this book was written by some guy who stayed here for like one year He calls the city a failure over and over and is always talking about the tragedy that people here live in like wtf There was a lot of clear and organized history and I see why we read it for class But I mean seriously bro I m pissed he [...]


    14. I wish Detroit had been longer At this length, it felt like Martelle was skipping around rather than giving a complete historical account which, to be fair, he admits is his goal up front I think a comprehensive account of the latter half of the 20th century would have done to answer what is really the book s central question why Detroit essentially collapsed.Of course, he provides plenty of reasons, including the influx of blacks during the Great Migration and the deep rooted racism it create [...]


    15. I learned some early history of Detroit from this book Unfortunately, the tone of the book was heavily biased and overtly blamed racism for all the ills of the city and the author seemed able to conjecture intent when no one else has been able to do so The theme was definitely racism and the author tried to plant that as an evil in Detroit s history as early as the beginning of 1800 not sure how he could do that without substantiation He only glossed over Coleman Young and only mentioned Kwame K [...]


    16. Altogether, this was an enjoyable read Of course, it s difficult to give anything but a concise history of a city with such a long and complex history as Detroit The author tends to focus on key events, rather than give an overview of the topic at hand About three quarters of the way in the author begins to editorialize, and offer opinions vaguely clouded as facts , some of which were rather insulting to me a born and bred Detroiter I wouldn t let that stand in the way of my recommendation, thou [...]


    17. Interesting for anyone who has spent some time in Detroit and wonders when and how it started to fail Martelle takes you through thehistory from early trading post to the the present, the executives that built the motor city, and the architects of its demise A very sadbiography.


    18. So, if one was to purchase and read said book whipty do If one were not to purchase and read said book congratulations, you just saved yourself money and time Unfortunately, I fall into the former.



    19. Very interesting and good Opened my eyes as to why the city is as it is today Had so much potential yet time after time shot itself in the foot.


    20. A very interesting, informative, and inside look at one of America s most influential cities Detroit has had a rich, explosive, history from its earliest days The D is also known as Motown, the Motor City, Hockeytown, any other nicknames It is hard to talk about Detroit without mentioning automobiles, music, or sports However, the city s history resonates with the inner bowels of racial tension in America, union power and other labor movements, the epitome of tensions between management and work [...]


    21. A book filled with dates, names, and places all of which try to define, describe, and decry the decay of the City of Detroit It points out the various civic leaders and police forces over the decades and how they interacted with, dominated, abused and legislated against the black population It seems scholarly on the surface and the author has cited numerous sources for his facts and details A few positives surface occasionally but they are few.It seems to be fair minded but the reader is left wi [...]


    22. Interesting book, well done A few spots where the narrative got bogged down with numbers and the reader obviously wan t from Detroit as he mispronounced nearly every road or location I liked the comparison with Pittsburgh at the end and how Detroit s current situation differs as Pittsburgh is frequently held up as an example of what could happen to Detroit.


    23. I enjoyed this book but the man who read the audio book was clearly not a native Detroiter or even Michigander because the way he pronounced many streets and words was so wrong it was distracting But anyway, it was well written overall and I did learn a few things.



    24. Given our family history in Michigan I was interested in this history of the city of Detroit Beginning with the birth of the city as a French trading post the British years the opening of the Michigan territory following the construction of the Erie Canal the Civil War years the rise of the auto industry the fractured race relations the roaring twenties the Depression and the depopulation of the core of the city It is not a happy story.My great great grandfather moved his family to Michigan from [...]


    25. This book was extremely hard for me to get into in the beginning, but worth the read in the end I admit however, that the slow start may be my own issue as the book starts with the earliest roots of Detroit back when French traders battled with the British over control and I have less interest in that time period than that of the Civil War on The early chapters were however mercifully short and after I had gotten the mid 1800 s I was enjoying myself and learning a lot.Martelle seeks to put Detro [...]


    26. Scott Martelle is a reporter who is from detroit He lived around the World and has come back to detroit ready to settle down Detroit s predicament is different from other cities, at the beginning, detroit was one of the greatest cities in america It personified the qualities of a pristine american way things have changed dramatically Since the crash of the american auto industry, hundreds and thousands of people left detroit It was the fastest growing city but now has the fastest negative growth [...]



    27. The book was an enjoyable listen There is a certain level of reader depression almost required for what, at times, seems less a biography than an autopsy It does seem to start a bit slowly, and I am not sure why, if the author was going to go back as far as he did, he didn t continue all the way back to the last ice age rather than commencing with a Native American theme But every story must start somewhere.There is plenty of great detail here to tell us what has transpired, and some of the why [...]


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