Book Review: Dora Apel, "Beautiful Terrible Ruins: Detroit and the Anxiety of Decline"

Journal of American Studies, Summer 2016. 


Over the last decade, ruins have exploded as a source of fascination across many popular and academic discourses dealing with contemporary cities. Driving much of this rediscovery of the ruin is the blighted city of Detroit. Popularized as a "ruined city" in the visual imagination by high-profile photography projects such as Yves Marchand's and Romain Meffre's The Ruins of Detroit, Detroit has emerged as the poster child for a range of social, economic, and urban ills facing postindustrial America. 

It is against this backdrop of ruin mania and Detroit bashing that Dora Apel has published Beautiful Terrible Ruins, a far-reaching study of the complex interrelations between decline, capitalism, and aesthetics in the era of globalization.

Read the book review here.