Detroit: A Biography

Scott Martelle. Chicago Review (IPG, dist.), $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-56976-526-5
Former Detroit News reporter Martelle (Blood Passion) vividly recounts the rise and downfall of a once-great city, from its origins as a French military outpost to protect fur traders and tame local Indian tribes, to the industrial giant known colloquially as Motown, and now when its “economy seized up like an engine run dry.” Founded by a French naval officer named Cadillac, the city became a vibrant river town with the Erie Canal’s opening, exporting both to the east and westward to Chicago. The 1855 opening of Lake Superior later expanded its postbellum shipping capacity and brought heavy industry. By 1929, about 10% of the city’s population of 1.6 million (the nation’s fourth largest) worked in automobile manufacturing. But a series of downturns ravaged the city: the 1973 OPEC oil embargo helped destroy the city’s auto-industry dominance, and drug-dealing gangs caused a murder rate that far outstripped New York’s. Today, says Martelle, Detroit has been abandoned by both the Big Three auto makers and most of its citizens, leaving primarily black residents, many uneducated, jobless, and poor. Martelle, also an occasional contributor to PW, offers an informative albeit depressing glimpse of the workings of a once-great city that is now a shell of its former self. Illus.; 10 b&w photos. Agent: Dystel and Goderich. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/06/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
Show other formats
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-61374-367-6
Open Ebook - 306 pages - 978-1-61374-365-2
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4551-2848-8
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-4551-2847-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-4551-2846-4
Book - 978-1-4551-2843-3
Book - 978-1-4551-2845-7
Book - 978-1-4551-2844-0
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-61374-884-8
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-61373-067-6
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-61373-069-0
Open Ebook - 322 pages - 978-1-306-41691-7
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.