Nothin' But Blue Skies covers various cities in the Great Lakes Region, including Flint, which gets two separate chapters. I just finished an advance copy, and McClelland provides an insightful and sympathetic take on the people and places that make up the Rust Belt. In particular, he captures the agonizing contradictions of trying to run a shrinking city.
"The emergency manager law was written to rescue cities from corrupt or incompetent mayors," McClelland writes. "[Dayne] Walling, a cross between a Webelo and a West Wing policy wonk, was not corrupt. Nor was he incompetent. It would have been impossible to balance the budget of a city that's lost half its people and over 90 percent of its middle-class jobs without making it look even more like the set of Escape from Flint. If a city is too poor to afford democracy, it's not a city anymore."Nothin' But Blue Skies is a must read for anyone trying to understand the forces aligned against cities like Flint. Thankfully, it also presents compelling, heart-felt portraits of the people fighting to save the city.