cover image Devil's Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit

Devil's Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit

Zev Chafets, Zeev Chafetz. Random House (NY), $19.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-394-58525-3

Written by a native son of ``Murder Capital, U.S.A.,'' who, like the majority of white Detroiters, high-tailed it out of town after the 1967 race riot (in Chafets's case, to Israel), this tour of ``the first major Third World city'' in America is an enormously unsettling read and a tragically accurate picture of a dying metropolis. Through personal observation and interviews with local citizens and officials, Chafets ( Members of the Tribe ) captures the social and emotional hopelessness that has taken hold in the Motor City, best evidenced by ``Devil's Night''--an unofficial, regional holiday (on the night before Halloween) that has evolved from an evening of childish pranks (i.e. soaping windows) into a psychotic festival of burning down houses. Equally unnerving is the author's penchant for sweeping generalizations (``the redneck suburbs'') and his tendancy to shy away from tougher issues such as the root causes of the city's problems. Granted an extremely rare interview with Detroit's controversial mayor, Coleman Young, Chafets fails to ask hard-hitting questions, leaving this work fairly sensationalistic. (Oct.)