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One of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 books of 2012

“Excellent… A stylish, clear-eyed, subtly absurdist panorama... Binelli’s engrossing book captures the beauty and nobility of Detroit, and the warmth of its communal life amid hardship and chaos. Binelli also takes full measure of the bizarreness of Detroit’s predicament—which is also the bizarreness of a whole nation contemptuously disregarding its achievements.”

“I like Mark Binelli’s book a lot. He covers the shrinking of Detroit, its downfall from the lofty peak as Arsenal of Democracy, with clear, expository prose and no axe to grind. A firefighter asks the author, ‘You going fiction or non-fiction?’ Binelli answers, ‘Non.’ And the reply comes back, ‘No one’s going to believe it.’ ”
Elmore Leonard

“With the acuity of Joan Didion and the controlled hilarity of Ian Frazier, Mark Binelli investigates the portents and absurdities of America’s most infamous urban calamity. Exhilarating in scope, irresistible for its intricate, scrupulous portraiture, Detroit City Is the Place to Be is the masterful performance of one of our generation’s most humane and brilliant writers.”
Wells Tower, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

“Let’s face it. Detroit City is not the place to be. But if you care about America you have to see it, to walk its desolate streets, to talk to the people who make it their home, to hear what it means to live on the wrong side of the post-industrial divide. And you’re not going to find a smarter, tougher, more entertaining guide than Mark Binelli. If you give a damn you’ve got to read this book.” Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age


“At once hilarious and sharp, sweeping and intimate, Detroit City Is the Place to Be is an oddly delighted warning from the recent future. Mark Binelli writes with the tender scrutiny of a returning exile, in a style that manages to infuse Rolling Stone vigor with Spy wit, Baffler skepticism, and n+1 intelligence. This is a nonfiction novel about our American experiment—grand and grandiose, unprecedented and absurd—and it’s the most entertaining and persuasive book about this country I’ve read in a very long time.” Gideon Lewis-Kraus, author of A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and Hopeless

“Mark Binelli has succeeded in synthesizing both the tragedy and absurdity that Detroiters face each and every day in America’s fastest shrinking city. Yes, things are dire in Motor City, but the author refuses to perform an autopsy on a place that still radiates rage, pride, hustle, and hope. Detroit, he discovers, is very much alive.”
Heidi Ewing, director of Detropia

“Before turning the buffalo (or the artists) loose on the haunted prairie that was once Detroit, we should ponder why a great American metropolis was allowed to die. Mark Binelli, Motor City native returned, provides a picaresque but unflinchingly honest look at the crime scene. Like Richard Pryor, he has the rare talent to make you laugh and cry at the same time.”
Mike Davis, author of Ecology of Fear

“Mark Binelli is a first-rate reporter, gifted with the ability to get almost anybody to open up. Detroit City Is the Place to Be is searching, wide-angle, honest, deeply moving, and unshakably dark. It is a vivid slice of our time and implies a disquieting prophecy of the future.” Luc Sante, author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York

Detroit City is the Place to Be is a brilliant kaleidoscope of everything that is great, broken, inspiring, heart-breaking, and ultimately remarkable about Detroit. This is a portrait of a city unlike anything you’ve read—funny, profoundly intimate, with characters who lodge themselves into your heart and mind. Mark Binelli has turned the story of Detroit, and by extension America, into a glorious, unforgettable work of art.” Dinaw Mengestu, author of How to Read the Air




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