Best books about Detroit, 2013

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Detroit 1968

Detroit 1968 

Street photography beautifully reproduced!

Detroit 1968 is a collection of powerful and haunting photographs by Enrico Natali, a skilled street photographer shooting Detroit habitats and people in the key year of 1968. Natali spent only a few years living there, but displays a strong connection with the city, especially in his quickly sketched public portraits. His first major project was a brilliant collection of New York City subway riders, shot in 1960  –and a similar, deeply ingrained, honest approach is at work here. This beautifully printed  edition should find a home in any collection concerned with Detroit history, photography or the investigation of everyday reality. Natali is specially gifted at spontaneous portraiture –capturing the face  and people of the city, during its most energized and revolutionary time. Detroit 1968 should help reaffirm and establish Natali’s reputation as one of the master photographer’s of the streets.

DETROIT JAZZ  documenting the legacy of Gretchen Valade (hardcover)DETROIT JAZZ documenting the legacy of Gretchen Valade (signed hardcover)

Great moments captured at the Detroit Jazz Fest

Detroit Jazz, is a hardbound collection of 90 black and white and color photographs documenting the renaissance of Detroit through the resurgence of its music. This new title is a high quality printing that celebrates the labor day tradition of the Detroit Jazz Festival, featuring many of Detroit’s great musicians. A treasure trove of memories from the worlds largest Jazz festival.

Detroit Rocks: A Pictorial History of Motor City Rock and Roll 1965-1975Detroit Rocks: A Pictorial History of Motor City Rock and Roll 1965-1975 (signed by Leni Sinclair)

“this book smokes from beginning to end with information, history & beauty presented in the photographs & text of Leni Sinclair and the mind-boggling eye-popping posters of the great Gary Grimshaw.” – John Sinclair

An essential history of Detroit music, art, and counterculture. High quality full color printing, produced and printed in a co-op worker-owned printing plant in Michigan!

A Black Revolutionary's Life in Labor: Black Workers Power in DetroitA Black Revolutionary’s Life in Labor: Black Workers Power in Detroit   Signed! 

“Michael Hamlin recounts his first-hand experiences as one of the leaders of the movement. Hamlin was one of the prime movers behind both the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.: –DANGEROUS MINDS

The movement of ideas in the conversation works beautifully, allowing us to appreciate Mike’s journey as well as his profound, useful reflections on the political struggles he was engaged in.  I am certain that this powerful, knowledgeable, tender interchange between two revolutionaries will find its way to the hearts of young movement workers.” Gloria House, PhD. Detroit

Detroit Country Music Detroit Country Music

Detroit’s unexplored music genre

This is the first book—the first resource of any kind—to tell the story of Detroit’s contributions to country music. Craig Maki and Keith Cady have spent two decades collecting music and images, and visiting veteran musicians to amass more than seventy interviews about country music in Detroit. Just as astounding as the book’s revelations are the photographs, most of which have never been published before. Detroit Country Music will be essential reading for music historians, record collectors, roots music fans, and Detroit music aficionados.

A Woman Like Me: A Memoir (paperback) A Woman Like Me: A Memoir (paperback)

Now in paperback; “an uninching and uncompromising look at a life lived across the tracks from fame . . .” (Detroit Free Press)



As a teenager in Detroit, Bettye LaVette scored a hit single with “My Man—He’s a Lovin’ Man.” But by twenty, she had faded into obscurity, and bad luck repeatedly sabotaged her career. Then, after forty years of singing in clubs, her unforgettable performances at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors and at President Obama’s preinaugural concert put her back in the spotlight. A chronicle of LaVette’s incredible life, A Woman Like Me is a poignant, brazen, take-no-prisoners memoir as thrilling and fearless as her music.

Detroit Rock City (paperback)Detroit Rock City (paperback)

“A must read. The brutally honest, first-hand accounts of the Detroit rock scene will hold you captive as you relive these crazy times.” –
“a dysfunctional Detroit scene that, like a negative image, shows what is needed to make great, lasting art by depicting its opposite. That makes the book worth reading, if in a perverse way.” Wall Street Journal
‘Detroit Rock City’ is an oral history of Detroit and its music, told by the people who were on the stage, in the clubs, the practice rooms, studios, and in the audience, blasting the music out and soaking it up, in every rock music scene from 1967 to today.

Detroit City Is The Place To Be (paperback)Detroit City Is The Place To Be (paperback)

one of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Best Books of 2012, now in paperback

Once America’s capitalist dream town, Detroit is our country’s greatest urban failure, having fallen the longest and the farthest. But the city’s worst crisis yet (and that’s saying something) has managed to do the unthinkable: turn the end of days into a laboratory for the future. Urban planners, land speculators, neopastoral agriculturalists, and utopian environmentalists—all have been drawn to Detroit’s baroquely decaying, nothing-left-to-lose frontier.

Legendary Locals (paperback)Legendary Locals of Detroit (paperback, signed)

Detroit 101 –a who’s who of Motor City notoriety
“For those looking to put that first toe in the waters of Detroit history, there’s Paul Vachon’s Legendary Locals of Detroit (Legendary Locals, $21.99,135 pp.). Put out by an imprint of Arcadia Publishing, it’s very much in the style of Arcadia’s pleasing photograph-driven local histories. It’s a nice stocking-stuffer, with playing-card-sized histories of Detroit’s notable musicians, moguls, militants and more.” –Michael Jackman, Metro Times

“Detroit author Paul Vachon has written the perfect book for encapsulating Detroit’s story at this juncture… With chapters broken into subjects ranging from commerce to arts to public service, readers are able to hopscotch along, reading about the people who gave their hearts and souls to Detroit.” –Huffington Post

Redevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar DetroitRedevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit

New paperback edition of a classic, signed by the author!

“One of the important books in planning history, urban history, African-American history, and urban studies.”— Christopher Silver
June Manning Thomas takes a look at what went wrong, demonstrating how and why government programs were ineffective and even destructive to community needs… Examining the city she knew first as an undergraduate student at Michigan State University and later as a scholar and planner, Thomas ultimately argues for a different approach to traditional planning that places social justice, equity, and community ahead of purely physical and economic objectives.

Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech ResistanceBorder Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance

A dynamite tale by a local hero

“Best of all was Border Crossings (Ten21 Press, $18 paperback, 260 pp.), and it’s hardly about Detroit at all! It’s the memoir of Charles Novacek, the civil engineer who managed the construction of Cobo Hall, the Silverdome and the Detroit People Mover, among other projects. He died in 2007, and this posthumous release was published by his widow. I’m grateful she did. It’s quite a story. You see, when he was a boy, Novacek’s family was part of the Czech Resistance to the Nazi occupation. Novacek describes his teenage life, writing about stealing weapons from Nazis, hiding the weapons in a cave near his home, even killing a German soldier at long range with a rifle before he could destroy a bridge. If that weren’t a rough enough adolescence, he’s then part of the Czech fight against the Soviet occupation. Finally, there’s his tale of being beaten by government thugs, tossed in a dungeon, and sentenced to be shot at dawn, a story that culminates in a daring and stupefying escape straight out of a slick heist film.”  –Michael Jackman, Metro Times

Original Six Dynasties: The Detroit Red Wings (hardcover)Original Six Dynasties: The Detroit Red Wings (hardcover)

Hockey legends & Ice rink royalty
With the recent release of Original Six Dynasties: The Detroit Red Wings by veteran Windsor Star columnist and respected historian Bob Duff, the modern fan is taken back to one of the greatest eras in franchise history and the book contains an incredible selection of rarely-seen photographs that each tell a rich story. The book begins with chapters dedicated to the iconic Production Line of Gordie Howe, Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay along with the greatest legends to play in Detroit for the quarter-century period from 1942 to 1967. Duff goes into great detail about the action in each shot and gives the reader a great glimpse at what these players accomplished during their careers… this season’s must-have for old school fans of the team. It is a fitting chronicle of an era that is quickly being forgotten. –Sportsology

Heart Soul DetroitHeart Soul Detroit

Signed copies available!

The book’s reach is a wide one gathering interviews from many areas in society from athletes like Nicklas Lidström, Barry Sanders, Al Kaline and Tommy Hearns to musicians like Smokey Robinson, Don Was, Jack White, Martha Reeves and Eminem, who appears on the cover.  The world of business is also featured with the likes of Berry Gordy, Lee Iacocca and Bill Ford, Jr. -DetroitHub

Belle Isle to 8 Mile: An Insider's Guide to DetroitBelle Isle to 8 Mile: An Insider’s Guide to Detroit

The Ultimate guide to Detroit  -get to know your city! Signed copies are in stock now!

Edited by siblings and lifelong, seventh-generation Detroiters Andy, Emily, and Rob Linn – with contributions from a team of more than 30 Detroit-based writers and researchers – Belle Isle to 8 Mile: An Insider’s Guide to Detroit is the result of thousands of hours of research, thousands of site visits, and contributions and ideas from hundreds of local residents, making this streetwise guide a key for unlocking the city.

Art of Detroit's Cass Corridor- Set of 10 PostcardsArt of Detroit’s Cass Corridor- Set of 10 Postcards

Get to know Detroit art history!


Highlights from Wayne State University’s renowned collection of Cass Corridor art are now available as a set of ten postcards, featuring work by Jim Chatelain, John Egner, Brenda Goodman, Douglas James, Bradley Jones, Michael Luchs, Gordon Newton, Ellen Phelan, Nancy Pletos and Robert Sestok. The collection of high-quality printed images includes a brief history of this vital chapter in Detroit’s rich cultural heritage.

Detroit History Calendar, 2014Detroit History Calendar, 2014

A great collection of photo history to guide your day.

This 2014 Wall Calendar explores through vintage photography the history of Detroit, Michigan. Each month features a different fully-restored historic image of the city. Our calendar pages feature an underlying close-up of the featured image, large-format squares for easy scheduling, and previous- and next-month’s view.

Michigan's Best Beer GuideMichigan’s Best Beer Guide

Dont make Michigan Beer come looking for you. Set out on a pils-grimage to pay respects to the great people and places that bring you Michigan’s finest liquid joy. Inside you will find:

Listings and directions for all the current breweries
History and facts about brewing and drinking
A calendar of beer festivals and listings for brew clubs
Signature pages to record your visits
Special offers from participating breweries
Things to do / eat / see a short stumble away from the brewery
Lots of pretty pictures to make that reading part less stressful
Get this book into your glove compartment. You never know when you might need it! Support Michigan brewers by knocking back a few the next time you’re in town!

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