Everyone’s Reading 2017
Southeastern Michigan Libraries Reading Together
Why Read Once In A Great City?
In Once in A Great City: A Detroit Story, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist David Maraniss presents a fascinating snapshot of the people, politics and culture of a city at the height of its prosperity in the early 1960s.

From the fall of 1962 to the spring of 1964, Detroit’s car companies were seeing record sales, the Motown sound played on radios across America, the Civil Rights Movement was at its apex, and Detroit – a city President Lyndon Johnson coined, “A herald of hope” – was very much at the center of it all.

Maraniss tells the story of Detroit through engaging portraits of the visionary leaders of the time: automobile executive Henry Ford II; labor leader Walter Reuther; Motown founder Barry Gordy Jr.; upstart car salesman Lee Iacocca; and civil rights leader Reverend C.L. Franklin. Other vignettes foreshadow the city’s darker future: The Detroit mafia’s influence on football players, Commissioner George Edward’s raid on the famed Gotham Hotel, a failed Olympic bid, and continuing deep-seated racial tensions.

Maraniss was born in Detroit and spent his first seven years on Dexter Avenue near the Winterhalter School before moving. While he doesn’t think of himself as a Detroiter, he holds a great affection for the city and credits his early years with helping to shape his thoughts on race relations.

Once in A Great City provides a richly-detailed historical perspective of Detroit. The book’s people, stories, and events will resonate with readers who cannot help but wonder what could have become of Detroit had events unfolded differently.



A Word from David Maraniss
“The book on Detroit came from deep in my heart and soul, and I'm greatly looking forward to returning to the city to talk about it. I was born in Detroit, my earliest memories are of the city – the Boblo boat, Vernor's ginger ale, Hudson's department store, the Rouge pool – and though we left when I was seven, the place had a profound impact on me. Once in A Great City was my attempt to honor the city and all that it gave the world while also looking with clear eyes at the roots of its troubles. Every trip I've made back there since the book came out I've seen more and more energy in the city, not just pride in the past but hope for the future.”

How to Get Involved:
  • Check out Once In A Great City or one of David Maraniss’s other works from a participating library.
  • Discuss See's work with other readers at library programs or with your own book club.
  • Discuss Maraniss’s work with other readers at library programs or with your own book club.
  • Check out the Everyone’s Reading website at www.everyonesreading.org for programs, events, and book group discussion points.
  • Hear David Maraniss speak at one of the author appearances in Birmingham or Southfield. Mr. Maraniss will also be speaking at the Detroit Institute of Arts, a partner for this year’s program.


© 2017 - Everyone's Reading 2017