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Reviewed by Rattan Whig for Readers' Favorite
The Motor City and Me: Our Story by Mary Anne McMahon recounts the story of a migrant family settled in Detroit. Through the book the author describes, rather flamboyantly, the magnificence of Detroit as one of the foremost industrial cities and hub of cultural and socio-economic breakthroughs, through its decline and the reasons that led to it. There is more than a touch of melodrama as the author tells the story through an accumulation of writings of close family members while adding to those writings generously to provide a sense of completeness.
With the arrival of various members of the family in America in 1800s to the subsequent birth of children and their children in turn, to the many exchanges between the grandparents and great grandparents, and through the economic, political and cultural upheavals during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the story winds fascinatingly, taking the reader through many events and timelines while the story quietly unfolds in the background. As one generation passes the baton to another, dreams, promises, and hopes of a better life pass on and get mingled with those of the receiver. These dreams, promises, and hopes are captured beautifully throughout the story. Love and respect permeates as the author retraces her roots, traveling to places on three continents, trying to trace the path taken by her great grandparents from Ireland, Austria, and Germany.
The story provides a unique perspective on history, a glimpse of times past when cross-border journeys demanded war-like courage, times of extreme hardship, and modest rewards. The book recounts the struggle of families, not just economic, but those kind which are closer to the heart.