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Detroit: An American Autopsy | [Charlie LeDuff]

Detroit: An American Autopsy

In the heart of America, a metropolis is quietly destroying itself. Detroit, once the richest city in the nation, is now its poorest. Once the vanguard of America’s machine age - mass production, automobiles, and blue-collar jobs - Detroit is now America’s capital for unemployment, illiteracy, foreclosure, and dropouts. With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark and the righteous indignation that only a native son can possess, journalist Charlie LeDuff sets out to uncover what has brought low this once-vibrant city, his city.
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Publisher's Summary

In the heart of America, a metropolis is quietly destroying itself. Detroit, once the richest city in the nation, is now its poorest. Once the vanguard of America’s machine age - mass production, automobiles, and blue-collar jobs - Detroit is now America’s capital for unemployment, illiteracy, foreclosure, and dropouts.

With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark and the righteous indignation that only a native son can possess, journalist Charlie LeDuff sets out to uncover what has brought low this once-vibrant city, his city. In doing so, he uncovers the deeply human drama of a city filled with some of the strongest and strangest people our country has to offer.

©2013 Charlie LeDuff (P)2013 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"Full of both literary grace and hard-won world-weariness...Iggy Pop meets Jim Carroll and Charles Bukowski." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (309 )
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4.1 (279 )
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4.3 (277 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Stacee Katy, TX, United States 05-23-13
    Stacee Katy, TX, United States 05-23-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great performance, squandered opportunity"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Truthfully, it was a weak book. I liked the stories being told, except those about the author himself. I actually came to dislike him.


    Has Detroit turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, but I will be more cautious about reading reviews in the future.


    What about Eric Martin’s performance did you like?

    He voiced the very different people being portrayed very well. His performance was the redeeming aspect of this purchase.


    Was Detroit worth the listening time?

    Some portions were, but overall, not really.


    Any additional comments?

    This is story that needs to be told, and I'm sure can be told better--by a different author.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Fisher-Day SE Michigan 11-29-13
    Laura Fisher-Day SE Michigan 11-29-13 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "He tells it like it is"

    I am from the suburbs of Detroit and it was easy to picture all of the places Charlie takes you. Learned things about area (good & bad) I didn't know. Also interesting stories of some of the local politics - people should be ashamed of themselves! Charlie is a great character and the reader did a good job in capturing that personality

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicholas Lakehills, Texas, United States 08-02-13
    Nicholas Lakehills, Texas, United States 08-02-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Car wreck fascinating"
    Was Detroit worth the listening time?

    Detroit takes several story lines and weaves them together to give the reader a broad, but depressing, view of the largest bankrupt city in the world. The book revolves around Charles LeDuff's family experiences in the city, with a healthy dose of stories mixed in from his days as a Detroit newspaper journalist. It definitely held my interest, the power, corruption, death, and inability of Detroiters to quit swirling the drain by backing the same policies over and over definitely makes for a gripping story. It tends to blend together sometimes, and you have to pay attention to the plot line carefully, but Detroit's an interesting read none the less.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Avid Reader and Listener 07-09-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WOW"

    LeDuff delivers on the shocking goings-on of Detroit from the super-corrupt mayor to a super-corrupt judge to firemen who have to buy their own toilet paper because budgets are so mismanaged (ie, money pocketed by officials). Wish it was a tad more hopeful at the end, but it is what it is.

    Narrator was good - think this is my first listen with him. But it would've been nice if some research had been done first to pronounce Detroit words correctly. Kil-PA-trick instead of KILL-patrick (who says that?). Mak-in-ack instead of Mack-in-aw Island. And the like.

    Overall, quite good and mesmerizing.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 02-08-14
    Sam Motes Tampa 02-08-14 Listener Since 2009

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Detroit as the canary in the coal mine"

    A brutal look at the decaying city of Detroit brought low by unabated greed, corruption, and a world that has left it behind. The tragic stories of those trying to keep a shred of humanness as they struggle a lonely existence through a dystopian city is told by the author in a very in your face gloomy manor that tries to use Detroit demise as a wake up call for the rest of us.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 12-25-13
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 12-25-13 Member Since 2011

    I have a rather eclectic love of books. I know what I like and I tend not to be a severe critic. If I enjoyed it, it gets 4 or 5 stars.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Powerful"

    Honestly, I bought this book because it was on the $5 book list and I thought that it might be nice to learn more about what has happened to Detroit. I never thought the book would turn out to be this good. It is a true story that reads like a novel. It is really powerful and it made me think a lot about where the rest of America was heading. It is gruesome in parts and sometimes I forgot that this book is a true story - you really don't want to believe that these kinds of things are not fiction. I highly recommend it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eliot louisville, KY, United States 07-12-13
    Eliot louisville, KY, United States 07-12-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent"
    Would you listen to Detroit again? Why?

    Have listened to it twice- being a detroit expat with a strong bond to the city and how it has formed my outlook on life, it is nice to hear similar struggles with an underlying story of how the people of the city support others and try to move forward regardless of the set backs and preconceived notions of criminal behavior that the rest of the country sets upon us.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colorado-reader Boulder, Co USA 01-30-14
    Colorado-reader Boulder, Co USA 01-30-14 Member Since 2012

    Tell the story

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The ONE book to read this year."
    Where does Detroit rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Definitely the top 3. Maybe number 1 for making a difference in my life! I have never rated a book as the "ONE to read"; I would feel uncomfortable making that decision for anyone else. This book, however, is a gift, especially to Americans, from any state. Internationally, others will glimpse a snapshot of the U.S. they never expected.


    What other book might you compare Detroit to and why?

    "The Orphan Master's Son", though it was very different and a work of fiction. The truth's revealed and the impact of the 2 stories are immense. I loved every word of "Detroit" as the author took me to a new, different world, within the very world I live in.


    Have you listened to any of Eric Martin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but he was perfect for this book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It was good enough to, but I took breaks just to do the book justice and allow it to sink in. I needed time, occasionally, just to think about the reality of the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Very few authors can write non-fiction as engrossing as fiction. Charlie LeDuff is gifted in this rare talent! Really, no matter what you usually read, this book will grip you. I love a fast paced thriller with believable heroes and complex story lines; but "Detroit" was as much a page turner as any of them.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark David Van Der Maas Denver, CO United States 01-09-14
    Mark David Van Der Maas Denver, CO United States 01-09-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Couldn't stop listeneing"
    What made the experience of listening to Detroit the most enjoyable?

    I bought this book because I wanted to get a history of Detroit and I got so much more. I was born and raised on the East Side and Charlie gives a voice to the struggle of the city. I can feel Detroit in the way he writes, and it helps me better understand where I came from, how the city molded me. He gives words to what so many people feel. This is an amazing audible title. I'll listen to this one again. Thanks Charlie!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Monica Conyers


    What does Eric Martin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He brings a voice to the book that puts you right in the story.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "This is America bro, there's no such thing as spare change..."


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Sandquist Swedesboro, NJ 01-08-14
    R. Sandquist Swedesboro, NJ 01-08-14 Member Since 2013

    movsrus

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It is a story not just of Detroit"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It is a great story of how a major American city has deteriorated and is circling the drain. Much of what happened in Detroit is happening in other American cities and it paints a dim view of the future of our country.


    What other book might you compare Detroit to and why?

    Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis---and the People Who Pay the Price by Jonathan Cohn.

    More stories of the little guy who is disposable in the eyes of corporate America.


    What does Eric Martin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His narration flows well and keeps the listener engaged.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I would have but I enjoyed it so much that I rationed it listening only an hour a day so that I could think about what was being related and how much it paints the same picture for much of America.


    Any additional comments?

    Our country is circling the drain. The 1 percent don't care as long as the craziness doesn't impact them. Big money runs the country and looks after itself. This is the story of the bottom five percent and it bodes ill for the future of the US. People should read or listen to this book then think about where we are as a country and where we are going.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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