Beautiful Wasteland: The Rise of Detroit as America’s Postindustrial Frontier By Rebecca J. Kinney

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Tyrone Williams

Abstract

There is a certain irony in reading yet another book critical of the media-generated exoticism of the ruins of Detroit. The spate of such books might be understood as constituting a cottage industry of meta-exploitation itself. Rebecca J. Kinney’s cogent analyses of these media spectacles are usually compelling, although the tell-show-tell chapter organization creates needless redundancies. However, her nuanced criticisms of the ruins industry—depicted in chatrooms, documentary films, television commercials, magazine and newspaper articles, and certain kinds of books (e.g., the photo essay)—contribute to the specularization of her (and—full disclosure—my) hometown. To what extent, one might ask, do these books of criticism in to implicate themselves in the very objects under criticism? This blind spot is not, of course, confined to the books themselves. One might ask the same question of their readers. 

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How to Cite
Williams, T. (2019). Beautiful Wasteland: The Rise of Detroit as America’s Postindustrial Frontier By Rebecca J. Kinney. Indiana Magazine of History, 113(1), 101-103. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/imh/article/view/27386
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