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 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.
I enjoyed listening to this book, but I think it was more about Charles LeDuff and his family, than the city of Detroit.
Truthfully, it was a weak book. I liked the stories being told, except those about the author himself. I actually came to dislike him.
No, but I will be more cautious about reading reviews in the future.
He voiced the very different people being portrayed very well. His performance was the redeeming aspect of this purchase.
Some portions were, but overall, not really.
This is story that needs to be told, and I'm sure can be told better--by a different author.
Say something about yourself!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perhaps a website that showed the places and the characters would have the story easier to follow.
I would have shorted his personal history.
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