by Allison

Occasionally we come across books in our collection that are unique by virtue of their age, content, beauty, or size.  Showcasing a book of interest can sometimes spark an idea or another way to look at a historical problem.  A lovely book that was recently added to our collection is Detroit is No Dry Bones: The Eternal City of the Industrial Age by Camilo Jose Vergara. 
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“In the late 1970s, Camilo Jose Vergara set out to reinvigorate the tradition of critical urban photography that dates back to Jacob Riis’ How the Other Half Lives (1890) and to adapt it to what he called “the new American ghetto.” Like Riis, he wished to combine image and text into a synthesis that would both shock and educate.” – Robert Fishman from Detroit is No Dry Bones

The book is stunning.  It is a poignant photographic journey through Detroit that showcases the fall and more recent rising of the city.  It can show in one photograph a crumbling remnant of a building and the art of a movement to beautify the city.  The art is expression of the people of Detroit, past and present.  The juxtaposition of beauty versus ruin is both thought-provoking and indicative of a city rising. 

Perhaps finding books like this on your ancestral city might teach you about where the city has been and where it has the potential to go.  It is a beautiful book that shows the love that people have had and still possess for Detroit.  It would be amazing to find a book that evokes such a sense of love for a city.
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