Foreword Reviews

Under the Radar Michigan

The First 50

2014 INDIES Finalist
Finalist, Travel (Adult Nonfiction)

Travelers with an interest in exploring the Great Lakes State should dog-ear the pages of this fascinating travel guide.

From Alpena to Ypsilanti, the three-man crew from the Emmy-award-winning PBS television series Under the Radar Michigan has been rolling into towns across the Great Lakes State for four seasons. They’ve compiled their first fifty episodes into Under the Radar Michigan: The First 50, and the written work deserves the same kudos that the filmed version has garnered.

At its core, Under the Radar Michigan is quite simply a recap of past scripts. But while the bulk of the work to create content had already been completed, the effort put into designing the book—with its large, high-quality images, handsome font selections, and indexes sorted by both location and category—makes it a high-quality travel guide.

With Tom Daldin as its host, the television show has been described as an Anthony Bourdain-esque food/adventure show mixed with a small-town news feel. It focuses as much on the people who love their cities as it does on the cities themselves. That attitude carries over to print and is conveyed in well-written vignettes. Each episode becomes a chapter that focuses on trips to two or three Michigan cities.

The goal when Daldin, Jim Edelman, and Eric Tremonti started the project was to discover the “cool people, places, and things that people don’t (but should) know about” in the state, which includes trips to barely-on-the-map locales like Brutus, Carp Lake, Good Hart, Millersburg, and Naubinway. But it also includes five different forays into the city of Detroit to bring attention to lesser-known locations like Dabl’s African Bead Museum and the Alley Project, an outdoor graffiti-art gallery.

The show—and, therefore, the book—is heavy on restaurants, recreation, and retail shops located in ninety different cities and regions. But there are also silly topics, like the Bologna Festival in the small town of Yale, where “they love their bologna and the humor that comes with it.” And there are stories on interesting people, like a Northville dentist who cooks breakfast for his staff each morning and has a “Binky Tree” filled with hundreds of baby pacifiers behind his office.

Under the Radar Michigan: The First 50 is sure to become a dog-eared reference for can’t-miss spots on future adventures.

Reviewed by Rich Rezler

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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