Growing Up Greek and American in Motor City
by Dan Georgakas
is a unique blend of the traditional Growing Up Ethnic saga with a historian’s reflection on the decline and fall of America’s most populous industrial city.
Greeks began to arrive in Detroit in the 1910s. Eighty years later, almost all of them were gone. My Detroit
chronicles why they came, how they fared, and why they left. Dan Georgakas utilizes his own life, his family, and the parish of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church to explore experiences common to Detroit’s vast immigrant population.
Georgakas takes us back to the villages of Greece and Asia Minor at the turn of the 20th century and ends with a forlorn Detroit at the onset of the 21st century. Along the way, we meet earnest school teachers, coffeehouse characters, religious zealots, political extremists, activist auto workers, fervid gamblers, and others responding to the negatives and positives of a changing America.
challenges the view of the urban village as insular, backward, and resistant to change. The impact of American culture on ethnic consciousness is evident on almost every page. FDR walks with Pericles, Marilyn Monroe with Maria Callas, Hank Greenberg with Jim Londos, Walter Reuther with Archbishop Iakovos. Georgakas also offers a breakthrough look at local artistic movements that sought to make Detroit as renowned for its theater, music, and literature as for its cars.