The book is here

So my book is officially here.

So what next?

That question rattled me yesterday, when I looked at the calendar, startled, and realized that this was the day. It felt like I had accidentally skipped class on the day of a major exam.

But slowly it dawned on me that this is just the beginning of a sweet (and terribly nerdy) adventure.

There will be details to come, like where you can buy it. (From The History Press directly, and Amazon for sure, but I would encourage you to think about supporting an independent local shop if you can. A list of exactly which shops those are is in the works.)

And about the release party, which is  — mark your calendar! — Wednesday, November 9, in the evening, at the gracious Detroit Historical Museum, where I spent a lot of time mining for gold when I was working on the book (see: the cedar-block pavement in the Streets of Old Detroit; a photograph of James Vernor and the Michigan Board of Pharmacy on a soda-shop counter; Meier’s Astronomical Clock). We are still working on a few of the finer points. But there will be music and food. And I already picked out a dress to wear. And we’ll probably go to a bar afterward.

I started an email list if you want to keep up. I launched a Facebook page for Hidden History of Detroit. I am working on websites for the book and for the party. We’re getting there, sure and steady.

To be frank I was a little anxious when the books arrived. What if I had made a terrible mistake? Would I open it and find a major factual error, an unsound analysis, or a glaring omission? In a vulnerable moment, even a typo would sink me.

But on Sunday I went to Elmwood — to prepare for this Saturday’s tour, but also to enjoy the spectacular weather —and things have never felt more right.

There was a time when this place overwhelmed me. Now I know my way around. In my head it is a sunny day on the muddy streets of the old port town, crowded with ponies and grog shops. I am arrayed in some splendid broadcloth skirts and greeting my neighbors. Bonjour, Mr. Campau. Good day, Solomon Sibley. Herr Stroh. How do you do, Governor Porter?

I walk into the valley where Parents Creek still runs and think about musket fog, the cover of the woods, and the dark French nights of old Detroit.

And then, as I always do, I find General Friend Palmer‘s headstone, hidden beneath an overgrown bush. I think: His book wasn’t perfect. It was crazy. And he got some things wrong. I still love him.

I wrote this book for him. But more importantly, I wrote this book for you. People like to talk about “community” when they talk about how the social web works, and I used to be kind of skeptical about what that really means. But I totally get it now. Every time you share a photo on the Facebook page, leave a helpful comment (see: this amazing comment thread) , or send me an email because you caught me writing about one of your relatives, I’m astounded, delighted, and deeply thankful.

The book is just the icing on the cake. And I hope you like it.



#elmwood#hidden history of detroit