Reviews & Accolades

Rod Lockwood has written an amazing book.  Belle Isle champions freedom and opportunity, the powers that attracted so many adventurous souls to America over the years.  In Belle Isle, he helps us rediscover the roots that built this great nation and suggests that these great powers might once again work their magic, this time for Detroit, for Michigan, and perhaps even once again for the country we love.

-Hal Sperlich, former President of Chrysler Corporation and member of the Automotive Hall of Fame.  Patriot.


When given the opportunity free from overbearing government regulations and restrictions, individuals will outperform the decisions made by bureaucrats. Nowhere is that more evident than in Rod Lockwood’s story of the transformation of Belle Isle. Central planners and obstructionists be damned – and stay far, far away. Bold actions are needed to transform Detroit, and Lockwood’s vision lays the groundwork to make it all happen.

-Manny Lopez is an award-winning journalist and managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential


As a non-American, I have to say that Rod Lockwood’s inspiring book has a relevance that reaches far beyond the borders of the USA. It has lessons for all of us living in any Western democracy, with its inevitable bureaucratic compromises and, often, its complacency.  His fresh proposals as to how we might rise above the daily restrictions and penalties under which we all live, and which often limit both our ability to find success and our motivation to do so, should make Belle Isle required reading for politicians throughout the supposedly free world.

-Simon Taylor, Motor sports journalist; former Chairman, Haymarket Magazines, UK; motor sports commentator for radio and TV on BBC and ITV


Change requires us to think differently.  Detroit has been changed by Cadillac, Woodward and Henry Ford in the past.  Rod Lockwood’s vision and passion for Detroit and its citizens is the change we need for the future.  I hope the people who decide will see the vision for what it is — finally real freedom and opportunity for us Detroiters, the chance of a lifetime to let us share in the American Dream.  And we need it now.

-Larry Mongo, Owner- Cafe D’Mongo Speakeasy in Detroit; entrepreneur



I just finished reading your novelette.  The concept is outstanding.  Nearly 20 years ago, I visited Hong Kong to see the free market in action.  This was a few years prior to Great Britain’s lease expiring and Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule.  Many were fleeing at the time out of fear that the Chinese would ruin the economic miracle on the South China Sea.  Instead, Hong Kong served as a beacon for free enterprise and the exact opposite happened:  that tiny little city of baron rock influenced a nation of over 1 billion people and China began practicing policies based on economic freedom.

It was a great decision to portray your ideas in fiction form.  Aristotle wrote that “the soul never thinks without a picture.”  Your book paints a vivid picture of the impact the Belle Isle concept would have on individual lives and standards of living — both on the island and in the surrounding areas.  Art, according to Aristotle, is supposed to consist of, “Life as it could be or ought to be.”  In this sense, your book is most certainly art — the most effective medium for conveying concepts.

As Detroit continues to decline in both population and capital, the likelihood of your idea taking hold will most certainly increase.  A mass of resistance may eventually yield to financial desperation as a massive asset sale may be the only thing to extend the life span of a dying political class.

I wish you the best of luck as you begin your journey.

-Steve Thomas, Owner- Detroit Athletic Company


Neil and Connie

I found Belle Isle: Detroit’s Game Changer to be cogent, interesting, well written and easy to read. Much writing is focused and narrow; this book is broad in scope and outlines important ideas. As a university professor I can see Belle Isle being used as special resource in a class in macro-economics, public administration, or strategy.  I would ask the students to take one of the issues [education; health care; role of government] and contrast the issue as developed in the book with current practices.  Belle Isle is about ideas and would prove to be a great learning tool.

-Dr. Neil Bucklew, former President and current Professor- West Virginia University