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Detroit Audiobook

Detroit: An American Autopsy

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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

4.2 (633 )
5 star
 (285)
4 star
 (211)
3 star
 (102)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.2 (564 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.4 (568 )
5 star
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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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  •  
    07-12-13
    07-12-13 Listener 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 5 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
    8
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    1
    1
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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.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elton Los angeles, CA, United States 06-09-13
    Elton Los angeles, CA, United States 06-09-13

    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
    193
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    28
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    5
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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.

    14 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Bauer Madison, WI 10-14-14
    Rachel Bauer Madison, WI 10-14-14 Member Since 2012

    Founder of Prevention As A Cure & Social Entrepreneur

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    99
    3
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    "Well written and depressingly real"
    What did you love best about Detroit?

    It is written in story format so you can really get a sense of events and people involved.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I am glad I gave this book a listen but I had to choose something very upbeat and positive after this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Moore III Truckee, CA United States 07-12-14
    T. Moore III Truckee, CA United States 07-12-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    "Not A Autopsy/Cause of Death"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Thank gahd I am done listening to LeDuff's vendetta and whining.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Livonia, MI, United States 04-09-14
    Bill Livonia, MI, United States 04-09-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    4
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    "Detroit still sucks."

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mario 01-16-14
    Mario 01-16-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent real view of Detroit with story lines"
    Would you listen to Detroit again? Why?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NDFletch 01-02-14
    NDFletch 01-02-14

    ndfletcher

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "Gritty and authentic, just like Detroit"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 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 2013

    I teach middle school ancient history in Palm Beach, FL. I mix serious history with mysteries and particularly enjoy "The Great Courses."

    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.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colorado-reader Boulder, Co USA 01-30-14
    Colorado-reader Boulder, Co USA 01-30-14 Member Since 2015

    Tell the story

    HELPFUL VOTES
    80
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    123
    29
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    5
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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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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