Nonfiction to read alongside The Turner House

In 2017 Seattle Reads The Turner House, a novel about a large African-American family set in Detroit. We hope you’ve read it, or are planning to. Perhaps it has left you wanting to know more about the Great Migration of African-Americans from the South to the North; or about the city of Detroit; about the economic crisis and eviction; or wanting to read more about families. We’ve got you covered with twelve suggestions of nonfiction to read next. Read more below or check out the list of titles in our catalog. Author Angela Flournoy will be in Seattle for a series of events May 8-11; find the full schedule here.

The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford by Beth Tompkins Bates
Black Detroiters, newly arrived from the South, hoped to gain greater economic security, but Ford’s anti-union plan blocked workers’ access to the American Dream. A groundbreaking historical account.

Detroit City Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis by Mark Binelli
What looked like Detroit’s end days turned into a laboratory for the future, with urban planners, agriculturists, and environmentalists drawn to the city’s nothing-left-to-lose frontier.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
A New Yorker cartoonist celebrates the final years of her aging parents’ lives in a graphic memoir that reflects an adult child’s struggles with caregiver decisions and challenges.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
A Harvard sociologist examines eviction as a cause of poverty in America, revealing how millions of people are forced from their homes in a cycle reinforced by the legal system.

Mules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston
Hurston’s classic 1930s treasury of African American folktales provides great context and history to Cha-Cha’s visions of haints.

Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist LeDuff searches the ruins of Detroit for clues to his family’s troubled past.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
Lewis, author of The Blind Side and Moneyball, deftly presents the many factors at play in the economic crisis of 2008-2009. Also recommended: Lewis’s Liar’s Poker.

Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon by Gretchen Morgenson
How did the American dream of home ownership spin into financial disaster? This readable account of the crisis of 2008 looks at how it happened—and warning signs that were ignored.

Housing First: Ending Homelessness, Transforming Systems, and Changing Lives by Deborah Padgett
Chronicles an approach to ending homelessness that began in New York in 1992, rapidly spreading to other cities nationally and internationally, that focuses on access to permanent independent housing.

The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto by Tavis Smiley
Smiley, a political commentator, and West, a Princeton University professor, reexamine our assumptions about poverty in America and what we can do to eliminate it.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
Chronicles the decades-long (1915-1970) migration of Black citizens from the South to Northern and Western cities in search of a better life, an exodus of almost six million people that changed the face of America.

Fences by August Wilson
Wilson, who was a Seattle playwright, explores how racial discrimination complicates family dynamics in this Pulitzer Prize-winning play (now also a film), one of ten plays in The Pittsburgh Cycle.

~ posted by Andrea G.

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