If you love Detroit, you will love Detroit Is No Dry Bones: The Eternal City of the Industrial Age, by Camilo Jose Vergara. Detroit is past its prime. No question about that. As Vergara so brilliantly depicts with his architectural photography. My favorite sections of the book focused on the classic 20th century architecture that reflects the great wealth Detroit experienced the first half of the 20th century. Sadly, much of it is in ruins. But it makes for stunning pictures! The amount of the properties, both commercial and residential, that are undergoing renovation is encouraging, but for most of them, the wrecking ball is inevitable.
Vergara is optimistic about the future of the city. Unfortunately, others place too much focus on the burnt-out ruins, abandoned factories and skyscrapers, and brown fields that litter the central city. But the region itself is in good shape economically. Vergara believes the city holds promise. If I'm honest, much of the book won't make many people want to pick up and move to Detroit. The folk art, reclaimed buildings, and bar-covered windows don't scream "This city is on the rise!" But they do hint at life that remains and livability that is returning.
I don't know if Vergara's optimism is misplaced, but it does tend to be contagious. He captures the echos of the prosperous past, when Detroit ranked up there with New York and Chicago, while looking ahead to a prosperous future. Even if you don't love Detroit, pick up Detroit Is No Dry Bones and get a glimpse through the eyes of someone who does.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!