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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 (385 )
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4.1 (345 )
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4.3 (344 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ken Bengson West Plains, MO United States 05-05-15
    Ken Bengson West Plains, MO United States 05-05-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sounds like an old Mickey Spillane novel"
    Would you try another book from Charlie LeDuff and/or Eric Martin?

    No


    What could Charlie LeDuff have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Too much fluff and attempted drama


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Detroit?

    The whole thing.
    The subject deserves a much better book and reading


    Any additional comments?

    I have many books, this one is ranked at the bottom of the list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MLWebb 04-10-15
    MLWebb 04-10-15 Member Since 2012
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    "History with a story"

    Very well written! Allows the audience to understand Detroit thru the lives of its citizens. Not strictly a historical account so it is engrossing and easy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel 04-10-15
    Daniel 04-10-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Revealing, sad, and hopeful..."

    Charlie LeDuff's revealing look at the corruption and devastation that Detroit has faced left me sad, and worried for the future of some of our big cities. This book provides clarity into how some bad choices and self absorbed politicians can single handedly destroy a once thriving American city.

    Although the book at times wasn't as cohesive as I wanted it to be, it's about content. The reader does a wonderful job of bringing the grime and frustration that Charlie was feeling through with his narration. Worth a listen overall.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay 04-03-15
    Jay 04-03-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Love this book"

    Living in downtown St. Louis I totally relate to this book. Powerful cities turning into ghetto he'll holes.

    Thanks

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sonja 03-30-15
    Sonja 03-30-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great story about failing Detroit, from the inside"

    This was a great book. Written by local journalist. It's hard to believe some of the events that happened. He goes into detail about many things and digs deep for justice, especially for Detroit fire.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 03-17-15
    Matthew 03-17-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Charlie LeDuff has a........."

    brain!!! He is incredible. If you are amazed by common sense.

    Also, narration was good, sounds Detroit to me.... Enjoyed it. But Detroit is still a mess.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank 02-20-15
    Frank 02-20-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Undefeated Forever Strong"

    Detroit is the blood and guts, heart and soul of this Great Country. It will rise up out of the ashes. It must!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc 02-10-15
    Marc 02-10-15 Member Since 2015
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    "great story! horrible narrator"

    readers impressions were horrible, I imagine this clown was raised in San Francisco and has never set foot in a city like Detroit, but thinks he can nail the impressions like a seasoned vet! However, the author did a great job, and I really enjoyed all of the diverse accounts included.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    milica virag Camden, SC, United States 01-22-15
    milica virag Camden, SC, United States 01-22-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Difficult subject to write about and make interest"

    I lived in hamtranick for six months as a young 14 year old, then my parents moved to suburbs. My father worked in Chrysler. The demise of the inner city of Detroit being in news every once in a while, all this sparked an interest in wishing to find out what's really going on. Charlie has made the subject interesting by making it a personal story we can have compassion with the gory realities that happen to real people, husbands, wives, daughters, etc.
    the story jumps around a lot and can be difficult to follow, characters are not really develop and they don't interact and cause stuff, it was almost a long drawn eulogy for the dying city and the dead.
    Although the whole book is a tirade of his anger at city officials and others, and what's happening, in the end we learn what will help to change the situation. I endured the tirades, but the message should spur one to go and do something!
    The narrator had this urgency about him, reading as if he had an appointment to keep and was rushin. It was clear and intonation even, so at least I understood every word said. I would listen to this narrator again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Lawrence United States 12-11-14
    Laura Lawrence United States 12-11-14 Member Since 2014
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    "If Tom Waits was singing about Detroit..."
    Would you listen to Detroit again? Why?

    Sometimes we must *feel* a song with our heart before we can hear it with our head. The same can be said for certain novels. LeDuff has an acute eye for people and places. He captures the scenery with broad brush strokes and still manages to master small detail. He conveys his disillusion and wonder, both, with a perfect balance of jaded cynicism, abiding faith that some things just matter, and an (un)deniable optimism. I loved the mix of obscure history, and his own peculiar personal history. Combined these made his insights about Detroit so accessible--I mean who would ever think knowing that the last beaver was sighted on the Detroit river in 1934 could prove interesting--but it does. And it all comes together to make poetic sense; more collage than kaleidoscope. In the end he proves equal to the task of bringing the story full circle. As much as ongoing life ever really has a beginning or an end. LeDuff is poet in writer's clothing. And I confess, sinceI don't drive into work daily I would catch myself volunteering to run errands so I could catch a daily bit of the story. I live in Michigan, but do see the larger parallels he takes aim at.


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

    Yes. As a child of the inner city I don't have an excess of sympathy. But when Ms. Cargil (sp?) loses her son to the insecurity of a thug on a mo-ped I really felt for her and the young man shot in the chest. The cold logic of the chronically irrational can be painful when it is made viseral.


    Any additional comments?

    Can't say that Tom Waits' songs are inclined to make people happy. The same is true for this story--although both can inspire us, as LeDuff concludes, "to do the most you can with the moment you have..."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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