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
"Full of both literary grace and hard-won world-weariness...Iggy Pop meets Jim Carroll and Charles Bukowski." (Kirkus)
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.
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.
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.
Founder of Prevention As A Cure & Social Entrepreneur
It is written in story format so you can really get a sense of events and people involved.
This book is a brutal wake up call about how bad things really got in Detroit. I am a Michigan native but it would have been equally disheartening to hear about such a reality in any city.
I am glad I gave this book a listen but I had to choose something very upbeat and positive after this one.
One conducts an autopsy to discover or to confirm the cause of death. Unfortunately Mr. LeDuff discusses some, but by no means all, of the diseases that Detroit was exposed to but does not promote a cause of death.
I chose to listen to "Detroit: An American Autopsy" as I was hoping to learn about the interplay between unions, corporate America, and race relations in causing Detroit's downfall with a particular look into the economics. Unfortunately I knew in the preface when he said that his autopsy was rather memoir of Detroit that Mr. LeDuff's subtitle has misled me.
As a memoir of Detroit, Mr. Leduff's story is four or five stars. As the titled autopsy
Detroit: An American Autopsy struggles to be a three.
As titled, I would not recommend it to a friend. As titled, I would like to get a refund on my purchase.
Thank gahd I am done listening to LeDuff's vendetta and whining.
I recently listened to Detroit by Charlie LeDuff. Don't know what I expected, but he just confirmed what I'd nearly always known...Detroit and a significant segment of the citizenry there, are shithole and shit respectively.
I've lived in the suburbs of Detroit all my life. I hoped there would be at least something to grab onto that was decent...nope.
Book was filled with drear, depressing and wish I hadn't listened to it.
To pick up some additional information I may have missed. The way regular people live is such a sad, but interestingly strange place that nobody ever talks about. Makes you really think about what's going on in our own country.
LeDuff's narrative of the Motor City squalor is gritty and authentic. The city IS a mess and he pulls no punches. He weaves the city's story with his family's history and demons artfully, albeit with blue collar language and coarseness that makes the book unsuitable for younger readers.
The narrator captured the voice of Charlie LeDuff. Sad a world weary in a shocking world of corruption and incompetence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tell the story
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.
"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.
No, but he was perfect for this book.
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.
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.
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