Some of my
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Quite the World, Isn't It?


On the book tour whirlwind

April 9, 2012

Tags: current events, history, personal

Photo: Jerome Pohlen
Well, I'm back in California, landed Saturday in time to prepare for Easter dinner with my family and some old friends, and now here in the predawn hours I'm getting my week mapped out. Which is also a good time to look at the week behind.

The schedule was posted elsewhere so I won't detail it here, but it was a hectic and fun romp through Ann Arbor, Lansing and Detroit. Met some wonderful people at some great bookstores, and had a great night with old friends and the newly curious at the Anchor Bar in Downtown Detroit. The reception was uniformly positive, supportive, and spiced with personal and family stories about living - or leaving - Detroit. No resolutions were made or solutions found, but that wasn't the intent of the book. I want Detroit: A Biography to give people who don't know Detroit a better sense of what it once was and how it got to be what it is, and to give Detroiters and Michiganders a better sense of themselves, and the problems they face.

There have been some nice recent write-ups and reviews of the book, too, including The Detroit Hub, a ocal news site, and Bookslut, a national book-centric blog. Sales are going pleasantly well, too. Apparently it's the number two best-selling nonfiction title in northern Michigan.

And we've only just begun.

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About me


A third-generation journalist, I was born in Scarborough, Maine, and grew up there and in Wellsville, New York, about two hours south of Buffalo. My first newspaper job came at age 16, writing a high school sports column for the Wellsville Patriot, a weekly (defunct), then covering local news part-time for the Wellsville Daily Reporter.

After attending Fredonia State, where I was editor of The Leader newspaper and news director for WCVF campus radio, I worked in succession for the Jamestown Post-Journal, Rochester Times-Union (defunct), The Detroit News and the Los Angeles Times, where I covered presidential and other political campaigns, books, local news and features, including several Sunday magazine pieces.

An active freelancer, my work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Sierra Magazine, Los Angeles magazine, Orange Coast magazine, New York Times Book Review (books in brief), Buffalo News, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Teaching Tolerance (Southern Poverty Law Center), Solidarity (United Auto Workers) and elsewhere. I teach or have taught journalism courses at Chapman University and UC Irvine, and speak occasionally at school and college classes about journalism, politics and writing. I've appeared on panels at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and the Literary Orange festival, moderated panels at the Nieman Conference in Narrative Journalism and the North American Labor History Conference, among others, and been featured on C-SPAN's Book TV.

I'm also a co-founder of The Journalism Shop, a group of journalists (most fellow former Los Angeles Times staffers) available for freelance assignments.



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