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Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City Hardcover – June 28, 2013
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"A poignant, often funny look at an iconic Rust Belt city struggling to recover."--Vanessa Bush"Booklist" (07/01/2013)
"Teardown is a story, readable and affecting, sad and funny, animated by human impulse and the American preoccupation with real estate values . . . it is a remarkably intereting read that is likely to resonate with anyone who has ever left home."--Philip Martin"Arkansas Democrat Gazette" (06/16/2013)
"Young has written this love poem to his arson-prone, deindustrialized hometown and its impoverished and traumatized citizenry using a snappy yet journalistically skeptical style. . . . Even casual readers who have no experience with Rust Belt cities or real estate investment will find Teardown compelling and worth their attention."--Jim Schulman"Washington Independent Review of Books" (07/26/2013)
"The style of Teardown is Rolling-Stone-style journalism, relatively informal, strongly first person, loosely organized. But there is modern history, too, and wide-ranging inquiry into economics and (especially) politics. The strongest narrative interest, though, springs from Gordon s contacts with Flintites old and new, people doing what he is contemplating."--Randall Mawer"Lost Coast Review" (08/03/2013)"
"While scholars and urban planners throughout the US and Europe debate strategies for revitalising former industrial cities that are shrinking, forgotten or failing, Young reminds us that storytelling, including the kind of inconclusive ending we might find in a contemporary novel, sometimes reveals more than the most careful study can. Better yet, a good story shows us why we should care, even if it doesn t provide any solutions."--Sherry Lee Linkon"Times Higher Education" (10/31/2013)"
"One does not have to be from Flint to appreciate this book."--Stephen High"Middle West Review" (04/01/2015)
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Top Customer Reviews
Now a San Francisco journalist, Young is best known in Flint for his Flint Expatriates blog. It's an extensive, wide-ranging, and evocative collection of anecdotes, archive, history, and armchair analysis, and many of us have been hoping for years that Young would share his own observations in a full-fledged book.
Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City does not disappoint.
The book is a memoir, following Young's personal quest to buy a house in his hometown, fueled in large part by fond and complicated memories of his own childhood there.
Despite his extensive blogging, Young is surprised by a Flint that has changed drastically in the almost thirty years since he left. Budget shortfalls and public safety cuts coincide with skyrocketing crime. Many blocks are filled with abandoned houses, and hundreds burn down in arson sprees. Defiant homeowners in Carriage Town pump many times their house's value into renovation, while equally determined holdouts in the impoverished Civic Park neighborhood fight to keep a single block from falling into decay. The city is in crisis, and has been for decades. Most of Flint's residents live in a perpetual state of damage control as one calamity follows another.
Now I should pause for a moment, because the above paragraph could really describe any number of accounts of Flint.Read more ›
The opposite is true in Tear Down, here we have the author arriving back in Flint many years after he has moved away and made a name for himself. Still the messages are similar, which are well crafted, thought provoking looks at the effects of GM's exodus from my hometown of Flint, Michigan.
The plot has Gordon Young, a former Flintoid arriving back in his hometown via San Francisco armed with a mission to giveback to his city in some way and rediscover his roots. The narrative takes you deep inside the story with an insider/outsider approach that adds depth to his observations. Young now must face some hard realities while trying to follow through on his goal.
Tear Down is packed with excellent research, descriptive profiles and vivid detail. In short, this book knocked me out and perhaps is a last warning shot to all of America on the high cost of globalization.
I found myself laughing throughout the book at the main Character's personality and antics as his adventure to buy a delapitated old house to restore, in an effort to help in the revitalization of his old home town AND chase down the demons and questions of his youth. His sense of humor and dry wit pepper every chapter leaving me anxious for the next.
As for the content of the book, I was surprised at how much I learned as it relates to what's happening in my own city, Tacoma, WA. For that matter...SO many cities around the country.
There is a myriad of information about Real Estate and what is happening in today's market and how crooked the crooked are, and how hard the honest ones have to work to over come this epocolyps.
there are interesting details and thoughts about historic neighborhoods, homes, their histories and value that can be applied to "Anywhere, USA." I see a profound parallel between what happened with the Automobile Industry in Flint, Michigan and what has happened in my city, and many, many others in this country that have experienced economic disaster at the hands of a large corporation/business pulling out.
This book was a journey for me, like in "A Christmas Story," with the past, present and future all being visited by this young man on a quest. It just so happens that the realities that I learned about through all of the authors research was one of the best educations I've gotten in quite a while.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Being a Flintoid myself, this book was a sad walk down memory lane. All those neighborhoods mentioned in the book I knew in the sixties and seventies in my youth. Read morePublished 1 month ago by L. S. Pelch
"Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City" is a fascinating read on a number of levels. It presents a particularly well researched history of Flint, Michigan, once home to... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Peter Cavanaugh
Great book! As a Flint expatriate since 1968 (I left for college when times were still good), it was very enjoyable to read. Read morePublished 12 months ago by SysProg
The author seems idealistic, yet thoroughly incompetent. His conclusion about General Motors at the end of the book made me sorry that I read it.Published 14 months ago by Rick
I loved this book. As a former "expat" of Flint MI I can identify with al the areas tho I moved out in 1961 when Flint was still thriving. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Bonnie Fish