Detroit: An American Autopsy Audiobook | Charlie LeDuff | Audible.com
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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 (191 )
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4.1 (177 )
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4.3 (176 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Avid Reader and Listener Michigan 07-09-13
    Avid Reader and Listener Michigan 07-09-13 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    124
    ratings
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    35
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    Story
    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacee Katy, TX, United States 05-23-13
    Stacee Katy, TX, United States 05-23-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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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.

    4 of 4 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

    3 of 3 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.


    3 of 3 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
    5
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    7
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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


    3 of 3 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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Homebound Charlotte, NC, United States 06-17-13
    Homebound Charlotte, NC, United States 06-17-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Harrowing"

    A wringing account of the demise of Detroit. Almost mind-numbing in its dark detail, but impossible to put down. Not for those with delicate ears. Heavy with the actual profanity of modern-day Detroit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 06-08-13
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 06-08-13 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "through one lens"

    I enjoyed listening to this book, but I think it was more about Charles LeDuff and his family, than the city of Detroit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Dowling West Palm Beach, FL USA 06-10-13
    Mike Dowling West Palm Beach, FL USA 06-10-13 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Compelling true crime story and very dark comedy"
    What made the experience of listening to Detroit the most enjoyable?

    The narrator captured the voice of Charlie LeDuff. Sad a world weary in a shocking world of corruption and incompetence.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Monica Conyers seemed like a bad character on a late night comedy show. I had to go to YouTube to confirm that outrageous stories in the book.


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

    No


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Without giving the plot away, I will say that if this were a novel, I would have thrown it away because it is impossible to believe that any story could be this sad. Just when you think it can't get any worse, it get much, much worse.


    Any additional comments?

    Charlie McDuff tells parallel stories of life in Detroit, the history of the city and his own family and friends. I listened through in a few days.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elton Los angeles, CA, United States 06-09-13
    Elton Los angeles, CA, United States 06-09-13 Member Since 2004

    I teach Business, Economics, and English at a university in Tokyo. My interests are in politics, economics, and philosophy. I hold a BA in English Literature, and an MA in Political Science.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dystopia Defined"

    It is frustrating when a fascinating topic falls into the hands of an incapable writer. LeDuff's clunky writing style with horribly placed similes, disjointed narrative, and poor choice of main characters make this a really tough read.
    First, LeDuff uses similes that seem picked at random from a quote book with little thought as to their appropriateness and or clarity. As the reader fumbled over these literary gaffs you think, gosh, where was the editor. It is only downhill from there.
    Trying to follow the narrative of the story is worse and you come out feeling there was no editor. LeDuff skips around, sprinkling in autobiographical details here and there, then finally decides to tell his autobiography at the end of the book. It's like the publisher came back and said you need another twenty pages and he decided to go ahead and fill it with his story. The details of the book are told in a head spinning back and forth manner that epitomizes the poor edit quality. Is the book about the mayor, city council, firefighters, factories, or what? He is too scared to even delve into the real economics of the collapse of Detroit's car industry.
    Detroit is full of stories and angles to tell of its downfall, but the choice of firefighters was a poor one. He chooses to tell the story from the view of how the fire departments are run down and the role corruption has played in that, but by focusing on the fire department the true causes for Detroit's collapse are left unanswered.
    LeDuff spends too much time on insignificant details he himself claims were not root causes, only symptoms. He ignores the important work that needs to be done on this topic. Namely, how both private and public sector wealth is being squandered and the middle class is left to pay the social and economic price.
    I would give this book a pass. Find an author with a socio-economic I.Q.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
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