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4 Local Warehouse Sociology- Urban Studies
12 Remote Warehouse Sociology- Urban Studies

Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City

by

Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"One can read Teardown and go 'My, my, my! What a horrid town! Thank God I don't live there!' Oh, but you do. Just as the Roger and Me Flint of the 1980s was the precursor to a wave of downsizing that eventually hit every American community, Gordon Young's Flint of 2013, so profoundly depicted in this book, is your latest warning of what's in store for youand#151;all of you, no matter where you liveand#151;in the next decade. The only difference between your town and Flint is that the Grim Reaper just likes to visit us first. It's all here in Teardown, a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city."and#151;Michael Moore

"There must be a thousand good reasons to flee Flint. I can't assume there are many reasons to return. Gordon Young's Teardown supplies a few of these answers. A humorous, heartfelt and often haunting tale of a town not many could love. Fortunately for us, a few still do."and#151;Ben Hamper, author of Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line

"Teardown is the tragic and somehow hilarious tale of one man's attempt to return to his hometown. Gordon Young is a Flintoid at heart and his candid observations about both the shrinking city and his own economic woes read heartbreakingly true."and#151;Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

"Teardown is a funny and ultimately heartbreaking memoir. The travails of house hunting are skillfully interwoven with Young's attempt to reconcile life in his adopted city of San Francisco with his allegiance to Flint, the troubled city of his childhood. The result is an all too contemporary American story of loyalty, loss and finding your way home."and#151;Tom Pohrt, illustrator and author of Careless Rambles by John Clare

"Like so many other Flintites, I visit my hometown with a mix of sadness, repugnance and anger. Yet the man I have become, the life I lead, and the dreams I carry were all born in Flint, and Flint remains in my heart. We only knew it as homeand#151;as a place to learn, love and live. Flint is too easy to criticize, but I look back in gratitude for the values Flint instilled, the education I received and the bonds I made that remain with me to this day. You can take the boy out of Flint, but you can't take Flint out of the boy."and#151;Howard Bragman, author of Where's My Fifteen Minutes?

"Armed with an aluminum baseball bat and a truth-seeking pen, Young returns to the post-industrial wasteland of his hometown in search of a derelict house to buy and restore. At least that's his cover story. Young's true mission is to reclaim his past is order to make sense of his present. If you're bewitched by the place where you grew up, you'll find comfort and a sense of home in the pages of Teardown."and#151;Jack Shafer, Reuters columnist and a former Michigander

"This beautifully written tale of Gordon Young's homecoming offers an unforgettable journey to the heart of one of America's most compelling places."and#151;Frank J. Popper, Rutgers University

Review:

"San Francisco-based journalist Young finds himself consumed with nostalgia for his hometown, the desperately impoverished 'Vehicle City': Flint, Michigan. For two years he travels to Flint seeking an affordable house to purchase and getting a 'crash course' on a 'shrinking city caught up in a post-bubble economy.' Young returns to the neighborhood he grew up in, Civic Park, where 'blight was in abundant supply', and meets a preacher named Sherman McCathern who is intent on turning the community around. He discusses budget cuts with mayor Dayne Walling and speaks with county treasurer Dan Kildee about his controversial 'shrinking-city concept' that involves leveling abandoned buildings in less populated neighborhoods in favor of more green space. Flint's myriad problems are on display, including real estate speculators turned slumlords, rampant arsons coupled with fire department layoffs, and high murder rates — including a racially motivated serial killer in 2010. Young also shares the history of Flint, from Jacob Smith's fur trading post to the establishment of General Motors and the Sit-Down Strike of 1936-7. Young shines a spotlight on a broken city and the efforts of those desperate to save it, but this is also the story of a man confronting a crisis of identity and finding hope where there seemed to be none. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

After living in San Francisco for 15 years, journalist Gordon Young found himself yearning for his Rust Belt hometown: Flint, Michigan, the birthplace of General Motors and and#147;starand#8221; of the Michael Moore documentary Roger and Me. Hoping to rediscover and help a place that once boasted one of the worldand#8217;s highest per capita income levels, but is now one of the country's most impoverished and dangerous cities, he returned to Flint with the intention of buying a house. What he found was a place of stark contrasts and dramatic stories, where an exotic dancer can afford a lavish mansion, speculators scoop up cheap houses by the dozen on eBay, and arson is often the quickest route to neighborhood beautification.

Skillfully blending personal memoir, historical inquiry, and interviews with Flint residents, Young constructs a vibrant tale of a once-thriving city still fightingand#151;despite overwhelming oddsand#151;to rise from the ashes. He befriends a rag-tag collection of urban homesteaders and die-hard locals who refuse to give up as they try to transform Flint into a smaller, greener town that offers lessons for cities all over the world. Hard-hitting, insightful, and often painfully funny, Teardown reminds us that cities are ultimately defined by people, not politics or economics.

About the Author

Gordon Young has published major articles on Flint in the New York Times and Slate. A former staff writer at SF Weekly in San Francisco, he teaches journalism at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. He also publishes Flint Expatriates, a blog for the long-lost residents of the Vehicle City (www.flintexpats.com).

Table of Contents

Prologue: Summer 2009

Part One

1 Pink Houses and Panhandlers

2 Bottom-Feeders

3 Bourgeois Homeowners

4 Virtual Vehicle City

5 Bad Reputation

6 The Road to Prosperity

7 Bar Logic

8 Downward Mobility

9 Black and White

10 The Forest Primeval

11 The Naked Truth

12 The Toughest Job in Politics

13 Urban Homesteaders

Part Two

14 Quitters Never Win

15 Burning Down the House

16 Emotional Rescue

17 Get Real

18 Living Large

19 Fading Murals

20 Gun Club

21 Bargaining with God

22 Psycho Killer

Part Three

23 Winter Wonderland

24 Home on the Range

25 California Dreaminand#8217;

26 Thankless Task

27 Joy to the World

Epilogue: Summer 2012

Updates

Acknowledgments

Notes

Sources and Further Reading

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520270527
Author:
Young, Gordon
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Sociology-Urban Studies
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20130631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
15 b/w photographs
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Midwest
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$29.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages University of California Press - English 9780520270527 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "San Francisco-based journalist Young finds himself consumed with nostalgia for his hometown, the desperately impoverished 'Vehicle City': Flint, Michigan. For two years he travels to Flint seeking an affordable house to purchase and getting a 'crash course' on a 'shrinking city caught up in a post-bubble economy.' Young returns to the neighborhood he grew up in, Civic Park, where 'blight was in abundant supply', and meets a preacher named Sherman McCathern who is intent on turning the community around. He discusses budget cuts with mayor Dayne Walling and speaks with county treasurer Dan Kildee about his controversial 'shrinking-city concept' that involves leveling abandoned buildings in less populated neighborhoods in favor of more green space. Flint's myriad problems are on display, including real estate speculators turned slumlords, rampant arsons coupled with fire department layoffs, and high murder rates — including a racially motivated serial killer in 2010. Young also shares the history of Flint, from Jacob Smith's fur trading post to the establishment of General Motors and the Sit-Down Strike of 1936-7. Young shines a spotlight on a broken city and the efforts of those desperate to save it, but this is also the story of a man confronting a crisis of identity and finding hope where there seemed to be none. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
After living in San Francisco for 15 years, journalist Gordon Young found himself yearning for his Rust Belt hometown: Flint, Michigan, the birthplace of General Motors and and#147;starand#8221; of the Michael Moore documentary Roger and Me. Hoping to rediscover and help a place that once boasted one of the worldand#8217;s highest per capita income levels, but is now one of the country's most impoverished and dangerous cities, he returned to Flint with the intention of buying a house. What he found was a place of stark contrasts and dramatic stories, where an exotic dancer can afford a lavish mansion, speculators scoop up cheap houses by the dozen on eBay, and arson is often the quickest route to neighborhood beautification.

Skillfully blending personal memoir, historical inquiry, and interviews with Flint residents, Young constructs a vibrant tale of a once-thriving city still fightingand#151;despite overwhelming oddsand#151;to rise from the ashes. He befriends a rag-tag collection of urban homesteaders and die-hard locals who refuse to give up as they try to transform Flint into a smaller, greener town that offers lessons for cities all over the world. Hard-hitting, insightful, and often painfully funny, Teardown reminds us that cities are ultimately defined by people, not politics or economics.

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