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The Ruins of Detroit Hardcover – April 21, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Steidl (April 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3869300426
  • ISBN-13: 978-3869300429
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 14.8 x 11.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #569,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 37 customer reviews
The best pictures are the ones which you can keep looking at and keep discovering new things in over and over again.
moon
The beautiful book by Marchand and Melffre shows one part of Detroit; however shrunken and decayed at present there is still much to see and admire.
David Smith
Nicely for a quality art photo book there are detailed captions under each photo instead of the nonsense of putting them all on some back page.
Robin Benson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on February 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It must be galling for an art book publisher, spending a lot of time and money on a title, only to find that a very similar book is published at the same time. This happened in 2010 with two excellent photo books covering in detail the ruins of Detroit.

I bought Andrew Moore: Detroit Disassembled first and thought it rather impressive with seventy photos in a landscape format but Marchand and Meffre's book is a much more ambitious and comprehensive look at this fallen city with 186 large photos. As one would expect with photographers looking at the same subject there is some duplication. Intriguingly, right down to a wall clock in the Cass Technical High school, which both books show because it looks like a real life Dali melting clock face.

The photos in The Ruins of Detroit follow a sort of format starting with interiors and exteriors of factories then: interiors of commercial buildings; theaters and cinemas; schools; apartments; churches; police stations; hotels and more schools. The decay is just so overwhelming because this isn't just a few abandoned factories, which could happen anywhere but whole communities occupying hundreds of acres. The thing that intrigued me with Moore's book and this one is that so many of the photos show interiors: classrooms; dentists; libraries or a police office with everything still intact, though admittedly now strewn everywhere. It's as if the everyone just left in a hurry leaving everything behind.

One really strong point about these photos is that they haven't concentrated on lots of close-ups of abandoned detail.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By T. Rooks on January 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most amazing books that I have seen in a long long time. Besides being quite large, it is well-crafted both physically and content-wise. The photographs are printed in such a large format that tiny details come bouncing out.

One does not need to be from Detroit to see the significance and sadness behind the images- they are universal. But the opening essay on the city's history is consise yet enlightening and short narratives by the photographers throughout the book help navigate the scenes. Industry at its worst.

The book is filled with artwork and is a work of art itself.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By moon on March 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(please excuse my bad English)

The Ruins of Detroit is a gorgeous big book. It is filled with the most beautiful pictures made by two great photographers who photographed Detroit inside and out over a period of time. They show the magnificent buildings the city is famous for and the horrific state they are in. Or were in, cause part of the buildings in the book no longer exist.
The images themselves are scaring still lifes of what happens to a building and the things in it when times are no longer as good as they were when the library, the theater, the train station and so on were built, or when there's simply no use for them any longer for all kinds of reasons. They remind of the life that was in it, the people who used it once. They're not in the picture, those people, but you can almost feel their presence, especially in the ones where the room pictured seems to been abondoned just a minute ago.
The best pictures are the ones which you can keep looking at and keep discovering new things in over and over again. Of these pictures, there are dozens in this book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David Smith on February 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up in one of the suburbs surrounding Detroit, however while a high school student in the early 1960s, I would often take the Woodward Avenue Bus to the Detroit River, walk along the river, then walk up Woodward Avenue, past many of the building in the book, to the Wayne State University area. A teenager by himself could do that then. I return to the Detroit area at least once a year to visit family. We still go down to the River -- much more pedestrian friendly now than in the 60s and still go to the Wayne State University Area, much larger and vibrant than I remember. The Detroit Institute of Arts is still magnificent; the Diego Rivera fresco, Detroit Industry, alone is worth the trip. The Detroit Historical Museum is a gem. The beautiful book by Marchand and Melffre shows one part of Detroit; however shrunken and decayed at present there is still much to see and admire. It is fine to read the book and study the images, but go to the city. It is still alive.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kurious Oranj on November 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderfully well done book. I have to admit that I have never been to Detroit but I have for a long time been fascinated with urban decay. I have a few other books on the subject, all of them good, but this one is a piece of art. Not only are the photographs captivating but the printing is also first class and the large page sizes add to the effect. A word of caution, the book left me a little depressed after I read it... The best photography book I have seen in a while.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Simon Fraser on August 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful and impressive tome. The photographers seem to revel in the stillness and desolation. There are no living people in this book that aren't shot from an extreme distance, but there is a definite sense of of ghostly loss. The photographs of rotting Theaters and Concert halls are particularly moving. It would be a mistake to categorise this as a document of 'American decline', it's much more universal than that. This is a book about fragility and time.
I like that there is some historical perspective provided, the names of Architects and dates of construction/demolition etc.
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