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Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel Paperback – June 15, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wheatmark (June 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604945850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604945850
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,689,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gregory A. Fournier received his bachelor and master's degrees from Eastern Michigan University. He has taught English language arts for over thirty years in Michigan and Southern California and spent ten years at Cuyamaca College in San Diego County as an adjunct professor. He has written a stage adaptation of Crime and Punishment and is currently working on his next novel, The Water Tower.


More About the Author

Gregory A. Fournier was born in Trenton, Michigan in 1948. He grew up in the Downriver Detroit area and graduated from Allen Park High School in 1966. When he read Lost Horizon as a young teen, he decided then that he wanted to be an author. That novel transported him to Shangri-La, and he's been trying to get back there ever since.

He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in English Language Arts and sociology from Eastern Michigan University. After teaching at Ypsilanti High School for seven years, he moved to San Diego, California, and taught Language Arts in public school for another thirty years. He also taught night school and weekend college during that time as an adjunct professor at Cuyamaca College for ten years. Now retired, he is living his dream of becoming an author.

In addition to his debut novel, Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel, Greg writes a weekly blog at fornology.blogspot.com, and he is currently working on The Rainy Day Murders, a true crime history of John Norman Collins and the Washtenaw County, Michigan, coed killings of the late 1960s.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
This book was well written with developed characters and a great plot.
Suzie Welker
Mr. Fournier is to be thanked for bringing to life one of this nation's defining moments in its evolution of racial conflict.
David Priver
Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel reminds us of this fact in a very enjoyable novel format.
To Read is to Live

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Priver on July 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who was, quite literally, right in the middle of the infamous Detroit riot of July 23, 1967, I approached this book with very mixed feelings. While I certainly did not relish the idea of reliving this terribly painful episode in the sad history of this city, I felt that there might be aspects of those days which could serve a useful purpose in preventing such events in the future. As a 23 year old medical student, I was one of 50,000 people who drove down to Tiger Stadium that day for a double-header against the New York Yankees. As was customary with my brother and me, we elected to avoid the crowds on the John C. Lodge Expressway by driving down on 14th Street with plans to return to our northwest Detroit home by driving up 12th. We were surprised to notice that every intersection heading east was barricaded, but heard nothing on the radio to explain it, so we just assumed it was a fire being fought and so, we gave it no more thought. Upon arrival in the bleachers, we couldn't fail to notice clouds of smoke over much of the city. It was only at that moment, around 1:00 PM, fully 11 hours after the riot began, that the radio first informed us that there was some sort of "civil disturbance" underway. Even by the end of the games, somewhere around 7:30 PM, we had no information which would have advised us against taking the 12th Street route home.
Driving north on 12th Street, we soon found ourselves in the midst of what can only be described as a hellacious scene with fires, looting, and crowds milling about. We could barely breathe as we inched our way around the throng and, with incredible good fortune, found our way home to our profoundly worried and grateful parents.
Mr. Fournier brings us much more than a recounting of the events of those days.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By harvey t. sampson on July 22, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The portion of the title refering to the Detroit riots is a little misleading. It is actually a book about the relationship between a white man and a black man during this period of racial unrest. It is wonderfully written, sensitive, and to the point. The actual riot highlights the tension between the races at this point in our history. The final page or two will bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened reader.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By 555daisy on July 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
The author, Gregory Fournier, zoomed in on the 1967 summer of racial transition through a clueless white kid in the Detroit suburbs. Jake blindly accepts segregation and its mythology and racial slurs until he has an encounter with a "real" Black person befriending him, crossing the color line and briefly living his experience.

A beautiful coming of age novel with the sensitive, naive, open and intelligent protagonist, Jake. This 18 year old rolls with the punches as he examines life seeking the truth after his discovery that, "This was not the America I thought I knew." I remember these years and felt foolish with him, laughed with him and cared about him. Theo, as his guide, is street smart and cool, a survivor who seems together even in adversity. He is real, believable and as curious about his white counterpart.

The author thoroughly creates his setting with references to this time period through products, places, language and some history of racial segregation in Detroit and Dearborn. With this backdrop of historical reference, the racial tension rises to the riot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paula Margulies on July 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Set in rust-belt Michigan in the 1960's, Greg Fournier's Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel, tells the story of Jake Malone, an eighteen-year-old who leaves college and finds a job at Great Lakes Steel's Zug Island blast furnace complex. Jake, who is one of the few white employees at the plant, becomes close friends with Theo Semple, an African American steelworker, and the two of them discover what life is like on the mean streets of Detroit at the time when riots break out across the city. Zug Island is a wonderful coming-of-age story about friendship and loyalty during one of the worst periods of racial violence in our nation's history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By To Read is to Live on September 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book, The Help, has reminded us of how things were in the South during the Jim Crow era. We often forget that the North had its own version of racial intolerance in the mid-twentieth century. Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel reminds us of this fact in a very enjoyable novel format. The story concerns a young white suburban male who finds himself kicked out of his university. While awaiting to be readmitted to college,he finds employment in a steel plant located on Zug Island. While there he is befriended by Theo, a young black man several years his senior. The two of them strike up a friendship although the social restrictions of the time limit just how far that friendship can go. A coming-of-age novel gives the reader the opportunity to watch a young person gain wisdom concerning the human condition and this book is no exception. Jake learns more in his year away from the university more than he would have learned in it. This is a painful time in American history and many would shy away from an exploration of the attitudes prevalent during the era. Kudos to Mr. Fournier for handling the topic with grace and honesty.
The author wove in enough history to help the reader unfamiliar with the times to place the novel's actions into context. I would also like to recommend to anyone who seeks further information on prejudice in urban America, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton Studies in American Politics) by Thomas J. Sugrue (Aug 1, 2005).
All in all, this is a book that is enjoyable on many levels. Irecommend it most highly as I think you will enjoy it greatly.
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