Most helpful positive review
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No one's going to believe it.........
on 23 March 2013
.......was the reply the author received when responding to a Detroit firefighter asking if the book was to be fiction or non-fiction. His statement is close to the mark; it is truly almost too difficult to comprehend and believe in the collapse of what was once, the United States’ fourth largest city.
Binelli skilfully intermingles the reasons behind Detroit's demise with descriptions of the broken landscape and personal anecdotes, given by its remaining citizens. He charts a collapse into a nightmare world where the public services that we mostly take for granted (police, firefighting, education, street lighting etc), are near non-existent. A city where the shrunken population, too often composed of the disadvantaged unable to escape, is insufficient to service the city’s debts. Many just simply exist in the urban wasteland, zombie like, scraping a living from the many salvage opportunities.
But within this nightmarish apocalyptic scene, individuals come up with creative schemes for the future. Urban farms, plans to shrink the city limits to contain the populace in a more viable space, schemes to attract high tech industries and voyeuristic tourism are all fully described.
Born in Detroit, Binelli is easily able to mingle with its residents to extract their views and experiences. He knows where to dig to uncover stories of many unsavoury acts of its citizens both private and corporate. He paints a picture that is perhaps a pointer to the future for other cities unable to adapt to changing times.
Potentially a dark topic, Binelli makes this immensely readable. So readable, perhaps even those employed to represent us could understand and learn from it.