Summer on Fire:
A Detroit Novel
by Peter Werbe
The temperature is scorching in Detroit during the summer of 1967 and so is everything happening in this fictionalized memoir by a staff member of the long-running Fifth Estate magazine.
The characters are thrust into tumultuous episodes of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion, anti-war demonstrations, fighting fascists, rock and roll at the Grande Ballroom, drugs, anarchism, the White Panther Party, Wilhelm Reich, and a bomb plot that provide “a people’s history and radical folklore of Detroit.” The setting is seven weeks in a critical year that demands ethical choices by all involved, ones which mirror today’s crises.
“A refreshing read about Detroit in the 1960s. The story is good and the telling is superb.”
–John Sinclair, author, poet, MC5 manager
Summer on Fire is brilliant, flawlessly capturing the drama, pathos, hopes, dreams and actions of many of us Detroiters who lived through those fierce and stormy times. Reading Summer on Fire was like past life therapy. I absolutely loved this book.
Wayne Kramer, Author, The Hard Stuff, MC5 lead guitar
If you hate cops, law and order, you might like this book.
Old Gordo, 1 star review, Amazon
Werbe’s novel, while following literary conventions with an engaging plot, well-developed characters, and striking conflicts, acts as a corrective to slick, thoughtless histories of the 1960s.
Jim Feast North of Oxford
Summer on Fire is a time-travel trip that evokes what it was like to be part of the Fifth Estate underground newspaper, the iconic Detroit publication that had an impact far beyond its counterculture reach.
Julie Hinds Detroit Free Press
Peter Werbe’s account of life and revolution in Detroit should be required reading in every school.
Andrei Codrescu, Author, Too Late for Nightmares,
National Public Radio commentator
I raced through Summer on Fire. Ahh, Detroit. In London and in New York City, Detroit had the aura of being the center of the world! Beautiful work, and so much great history in it!
Peter Linebaugh, Author, Red Round Globe Hot Burning: A Tale at the Crossroads of Commons and Closure, of Love &
Terror, of Race and Class, and of Kate and Ned Despard
"Peter Werbe brings a journalist's keen eye and a revolutionary's spirit to this novel about war, retribution, and revolution. He never lets us forget that freedom is forged through friendship and solidarity. Informative and entertaining, Summer on Fire burns bright."
—Cara Hoffman, award-winning author of Running and So Much Pretty
“Summer on Fire’s story of a short time in the lives of a few friends intersperses real events and places with more than a little fabrication in the best tradition of yarn-spinning, capturing the essence of the whirlwind 1960's.”
—Marius Mason, anarchist, environmental & animal rights activist, serving 22 years in prison for defense of the planet
“Despite the surreal and gonzo events at its center, Peter Werbe's novel is down to earth and close to the street. It's appealing vignettes intertwine a people’s history and radical folklore of Detroit, including hilariously over-the-top encounters. A radical political novel that makes you laugh? Now, that's revolutionary.”
—Michael Jackman, former senior editor, Detroit Metro Times