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Erness at their city's staggering crime rate lead to frustration; he explores the growing sects in the Muslim and Christian communities that provide ecstatic religious escape; he talks to whites from the segregated suburbs to find out why they fled and about the roots of their continuous antagonism; and he converses with Mayor Coleman Young who despite the abysmal social and financial conditions of his city is convinced he is leading Detroit and its black populace to a better and brighter futurePoignant perceptive and at times hilariously funny Devil's Night And Other True Tales of Detroit gives an unprecedented look at what Ze'ev Chafets calls America's first Third World City. After a few years living in Michigan I got curious about Detroit and started picking up books about the city at the library This is a great snapshot of Detroit in the late eighties with plenty of historical and cultural background to help people like me who didn t grow up in the area It captures suburbanurban relations well and portrays both sides critically and empathetically although I think it s hard not to come out rooting for Detroit given the underdog status The latter half of the books spends a lot of time on the former mayor Coleman Young who makes for great material The man was charismatic outspoken and unyielding I ll be picking up his autobiography soon Ze ev born near Detroit not in it and having spent decades away from the country before returning to write the book is definitely an outsider providing an outsider s perspective so this isn t a great book for someone looking for an insider s view of Detroit That said it s an engaging casual introduction to the city culture and politics

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Devil's Night And Other True Tales of Detroit

On the night before Halloween Detroit explodes in flame The local citizens call that evening Devil's Night; tourists sociologists and even some visiting firefighters gather to witness this outpouring of urban frustration when houses abandoned buildings and unused factories burn to the ground in an orgy of arsonIn capturing Devil's Night and other troubling Motown movements Ze'ev Cha fets hailed as a 1980s de Tocueville by The New York Times returns to the city of his youth In the early 1960s Detroit seemed like the model American city Industry was booming as both blacks and whites found steady work in the auto industry But in 1967 the worst race riot in American history erupted. This was written the year I was born 1988 and it reflects the backward attitudes of that time period

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; overnight Detroit was violently jerked from an existence as a prosperous integrated industrial center to that of a chaotic seething ghetto Chafets goes back to the city where he grew up and learned the facts of life a city where his strongest friendship was an unlikely one with a fatherless black teenager from the ghetto a city where reality set in early when Chafets's own grandfather was killed in a holdupChafets leads us through the wilderness of the distinct subcultures of contemporary Detroit He meets the black intelligentsia who view their independent state as progress for black America; he spends time with cops whose conflicting attitudes of pride in their work and bitt. I found this after a search Detroit recently declared bankruptcy Not unprecedented fo a city but this is a large one Further the name Dave Bing spurred my curiosity for besides being the city s mayor he was a basketball great whom I enjoyed watching Told by a journalist who grew up in the area until the late sixties this is a descriptive analysis of the city not a sociological analysis It begins with Devil s Night the annual event that has kicked off Detroit s Halloween season since 1982 It can best be described as recreational arson No not simple bonfires but homes and businesses are torched to the glee of participants and spectators Through interviews with Whites who left the city for the suburbs after the deadly riots of 1968 Blacks who remain Arabs who own many of the businesses in the city and its former mayor Coleman Young we get a picture of a dying city where many values have been cast aside Detroit is the murder capital of the world among other dubious distinctions This book was written in 1990 and much has happened since Coleman Young died in 1994 but not before leaving an imprint showing the effects of his rule that can be described as hardline pro black Some say anti everything else Many businesses who could bring wealth into Detroit have left Arabs and others who operate small businesses are strongly persecuted against Today we see a once great city and its suburbs that is strongly polarized along racial lines if we are to believe what we read and see in the media I tend not to believe all I read I also know people who have recently resided in Detroit who will say that life there is not all bad The decline of the auto industry had something to do with the sorry state of affairs there Nevertheless I must ask if Detroit is the harbinger of what other cities in the United States will become Finally I can say fairly comfortably that doing things especially governing and leading while looking at things through a narrow angle lens a lens such as race alone is not desirableI found the book to be very interesting fast paced and flowing with good descriptions and interesting interviews Again this is not a sociological analysis but a reporter s observation Good writing that reads like a novel


10 thoughts on “Devil's Night And Other True Tales of Detroit

  1. says:

    I live about 25 minutes south yes south of Detroit in Ontario Since we are so close pretty much all our media except maybe Hockey Night in Canada comes from Detroit and if we're looking to go shopping especially now that our dollar is worth out to eat or see a concert or sporting event Detroit is the closest place to goCurrently there is a HUGE scandal involving the mayor which is just unbelievable I'm tired of hearing about it

  2. says:

    This was written the year I was born 1988 and it reflects the backward attitudes of that time period

  3. says:

    I strongly debated whether to give this book one star or no stars at all I figured the author deserved one star for getting me to spend money on this book which I will never get back and actually read itI thought the book was going to be about the history and background of Devil's Night in Detroit and other stories that

  4. says:

    Second TimeI read this book when it was first published and this week in Trump Time and it looses a star It's a 30 year regression I underlined a number of Chafet's opinions and he sounds as if anticipated TrumpTwo points 1 Johnson's point that white people don't know shit If white people didn't understand the classic expression hit the road

  5. says:

    Very insightful for a guy who lived near Detroit throughout this time 1980s but really had only a vague distant idea of what was going on Ze'ev got to talk with just about anyone he wanted Lots of good lessons here

  6. says:

    I found this after a search Detroit recently declared bankruptcy Not unprecedented fo a city but this is a large one Further the name Dave Bing spurred my curiosity for besides being the city’s mayor he was a basketball great whom I enjoye

  7. says:

    This book was fascinating; it definitely addressed a lot of the political climate I didn't know about in the late 80's and early 90'

  8. says:

    A well done accounting of how and why Detroit had become the third world city that it was in 1988 Fashioned through interviews with p

  9. says:

    After a few years living in Michigan I got curious about Detroit and started picking up books about the city at the library This is a great snapshot of Detroit in the late eighties with plenty of historical and cultural background to help people like me who didn't grow up in the area It captures suburbanurban relations well and portrays both sides critically and empathetically although I think it's hard not to

  10. says:

    Well written even handed description of What Is Wrong with Detroit Some chapters are a little cultural touristy others a little sentimental and the information is only current through the 1989 mayoral election That said history is