What a joy it was yesterday to receive a signed copy of Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story, by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, best-selling author, and Washington Post associate editor David Maraniss.

Once in a Great City covers life in the Motor City from the autumn of 1962 through the spring of 1964, when Detroit was still an industrial juggernaut and world player. I had the pleasure of driving Mr. Maraniss around the streets of my home town and to many of the sites he talks about in his fascinating book. Who could have imagined this 14-year-old juvenile delinquent and middle school dropout playing a part in this story?

Saturday, May 3, 2014. David Maraniss and me at the Marriott Renaissance Center, Detroit

I felt a little flush of pride at how David signed my book: “To Bob Ankony. With great thanks for your help––and honesty.” The driving force in everything I write has always been brutal honesty. I believe that is the only way we can understand the social context of human behavior. This sometimes horrifies my wife, Cathy, who is the constant voice of restraint when she sees me barreling headlong down the path of being way too candid.

If you want to experience the intriguing history of my Once Great City, pick up a copy and take a drive through the Motor City, circa 1962.