What made the difference? For one thing, U-M students mobilized effectively to fight what they saw as an encroachment on their way of life. For another, students at the University of Colorado inadvertently promoted the law by repeatedly dragging couches into the street during post-game celebrations--and setting them on fire.
As enthusiastic as is he when writing about other places, Gumprecht admits he almost eliminated the chapter set in Ann Arbor. Titled "High-Tech Valhalla," its focus is university-driven economic development--a subject he found demoralizing. "I recognize the importance of economics to understanding places," he explains, "but I hate money and what it does to us."
Gumprecht stopped by the Observer when he came to town doing research in 2001. Even then, he was disappointed in what he was seeing. It turned out he'd come into town from the south, through the generic commercial area around Briarwood.