Tom MacWright

I read Driving Detroit by George Galster on


Wholeheartedly recommended. Detroit’s story is a vital counterpoint to the stories of non-industrial cities like San Francisco and DC. At points this crossed-over with Killing the Messenger – Black separatism and the NOI, Settlers – racism in and amongst unions, and Human Transit – the design of a city. The analysis of the auto industry as fragile, cyclical, and low-margin illuminates how Tesla is facing age-old conditions.

And above all, it’s tragic. Home ownership, something that I consider usually toxic, is poisonous in Detroit. Local control, imagined memories, and identity politics reign. Cut off from its signature industry, an industry that paid high wages for work that didn’t require a college education, and that relied on false guarantees of lifelong jobs and stable housing, Detroit adopts a defensive, reactionary position that’s ultimately self-destructive.

No place is quite the same as Detroit, but the principles, feelings, and forces involved are clasically American and human.