RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewSmoketown brilliantly offers us a chance to see this other black renaissance and spend time with the many luminaries who sparked it as well as the often unheralded journalists who covered it ... It’s thanks to such a gifted storyteller as Whitaker that this forgotten chapter of American history can finally be told in all its vibrancy and glory.
PositiveThe Washington Post...groundbreaking history... Miles calls her book 'an alternative origin story' — and with good reason. Hers is a history that 'privileges people in bondage, many of whom launched gripping pursuits of dignity, autonomy, and liberty.' Piecing together voices from primary source material...Miles chronicles 'the rise, fall and dawn of Detroit while centering on the experiences of those who were held in bondage from the mid-1700s to the early 1800s' ... Miles demonstrates a unique insight on native and African American culture. Very few scholars move so seamlessly from the intricacies of the Africans to those of the Ottawa, Potawatomi and Objiwe cultures. Miles’s voice is consistently authoritative ... As episodes unfold in fragments, there are redundancies, seemingly for the purpose of reacquainting the reader with a particular incident and the characters involved ... In her eloquent account, Miles conjures up a city of stark disparity and lives quashed.