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63 Alfred Street: Where Capitalism Failed: The Life and Times of a Venetian Gothic Mansion in Downtown Detroit Paperback – June 13, 2010
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63 Alfred Street: Where Capitalism Failed: The Life and Times of a Venetian Gothic Mansion in Downtown Detroit is more than the tragic history of a grand residence built 130 years ago that has fallen into virtual ruin today, used by crack dealers and the local homeless for the past 40 years. 63 Alfred Street is an extremely critical examination of the urban decay that has plagued Detroit's inner city, and the factors that cause it. Author John Kossik, a former resident of Detroit, compares the inner city's social ills to a Hydra - just like the mythical monster of legend, it has many heads (causes), which must be tackled as a whole and dealt with properly or else they will regrow. Kossik names many culprits in Detroit's degredation, from the demolishing of vibrant neighborhoods to create road systems that encouraged white flight, to a tax burden that drives out young families and keeps them from returning, to a culture of entitlement amid union auto workers that cripples Detroit's auto industry, to Detroit's unhealthy dependence on the auto manufacturing industry in the first place, and more. Kossik doesn't have all the answers, but through his judiciously researched blend of history and sociology, he hopes to spread greater awareness of the problem and aid the search for solutions. A thoughtful and invaluable study of seemingly intractable social problems, 63 Alfred Street is highly recommended. --Midwest Book Review, Library Bookwatch, January 2011
About the Author
John Kossik was born and raised in the Downriver suburbs of Detroit. He graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1983. He has lived and worked in the Pacific Northwest since then and has written numerous articles in publications such as Chemical Engineering, Chemical Engineering Progress, Genetic Engineering News, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Filtration+Separation, and Bioprocess International. He is co-patent holder of Disposable rotary drum filter, US Patent No. 6,336,561. A life-long Tiger fan until that venerable structure was abandoned in 1999, he subsequently gave up watching the game. He lives with his wife and two grown children in suburban Seattle. An amateur photographer, historian, and marine reef-keeper, this is his first book.
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There are many, many better books out there related to Detroit history and architecture that would better serve an interested reader. This book is not one of them.
This is a book that should be reissued by a serious commercial publisher. With the careful editing that this text deserves but has not yet received, it could sell decently and assume a high rank among the few books that have considered these questions in a serious and original way.