Ultimately, this mix of images and the receptions they stimulate is what sets Taubman's book apart from compilations of ruin porn. She reminds readers of the people who were employed by and served by the derelict factories and schools shown herein, who live in the houses that remain and in the houses that used to occupy what now are vacant lots. Yet, even these compassionately framed photographs freeze their subjects in time and isolate them from narrative context: it is simply the nature of the medium.
With any luck, this exquisitely packaged collection of images might inspire some real action and positive answers. It might spark philanthropy and investment. Perhaps artists will see it and move to Detroit, where they can find the sort of inexpensive spaces that Brooklyn used to offer. Or it might stir local pride, assail apathy and arouse curiosity. There's only so much a book of pictures can do, however. This one does its part. The rest is up to those who look inside the covers. (Janet Tyson Cassone
'Detroit: 138 Square Miles' by Julia Reyes Taubman just may be one of the finest photo documentary books of a modern America ever produced. It takes us into some of this country's finest stuctures built at a time when Detroit stood as a symbol to the world of American ingenuity and a testament to the possibilities of mankind. Not only does it celebrate this great city, it humanizes it, and gives us its people along with its places.
If you like cities, you'll love this book. (Jason Sheftell Daily News
A thorough, meticulous survey, the book not only captures the destruction but finds factories still puffing out smoke. The swaths of urban prairie are punctuated by scenes of citizens in bars abd bowling alleys. An image of an east-side neighborhood shows stuffed animals tied to a utility pole in a style synonymous with makeshift memorials - a reminder that the ghost city exists allongside one still fighting for its life. (The Editors The Wall Street Journal
She'd spent seven years taking pictures of abandoned buildings and other derelict tableaux... She took thirty-five thousand photographs and chose four hundred. They make you want to go there but maybe not stay. (Nick Paumgarten The New Yorker
Of the extensive books of photographs published about Detroit in the past year that present-Ms. Taubman's Detroit: 138 Square Miles (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 480 pages, $65.00, Dec. 31, 2011) is the first to document the city and its flaws, but also to demonstrate that, for better or worse, there is life among those ruins. (Micheal H Miller The Observer
The end product, the book itself, belies criticism that this is a socialite's vanity project. It bears sober witness to Detroit's greatness and its status as forgotten city - authentic, harshly treated, evolving rapidly as its housing stock crumbles and its once-heroic monuments fall to fire, wrecking ball and neglect. (Laura Berman The Detroit News
...enormous, impressive photography book (Mike Vilensky The Wall Street Journal
Although she didn't intend to create a book when she started, the results of her obsession with documenting the city in all its faded glory have now been collected in a substantial, exquisitely produced volume, Detroit: 138 Square Miles (MoCAD). (Ted Loos Vogue