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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

Critic Reviews

"Full of both literary grace and hard-won world-weariness...Iggy Pop meets Jim Carroll and Charles Bukowski." (Kirkus)

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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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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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

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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

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Bill
  • Livonia, MI, United States
  • 04-09-14

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.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A Warning to America

This is an excellent book. LeDuff sure knows how to report. The book tackles a difficult subject: death of a once mighty American city, Detroit. That makes it a rather depressing read, but it is also the story of a newspaper reporter who goes home and faces many truths. If the larger story gets difficult to read, the personal information gives the reader a respite. Even when the personal story itself has grim details, there are accounts of people who are genuine, who love others and who are loyal to their home. I worked in Detroit for a year, though I commuted a long way. I did indeed meet such good people.
The fate of Detroit is, as LeDuff observes, is a prequel to the dying of all the other American cities. And that is a dismal prediction. As many have noted, there are those in our society who want the death of the middle class. When and if they have their way, our cities' deaths will come and it may indeed be as ugly as Detroit's.

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Tough

This is a tough story to hear. I grew up in Detroit in the 50s, and absolutely loved my life. Then moving to segregated Miami I learned about the differences of black-and-white. It was very sad and opened my eyes in so many ways. This is a hard story to hear, but very very necessary. I pray for Detroit and the good people that live there. A great read

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Detroit for the modern reckless cowboy

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I am not the audience for this book. The audience is someone who likes cowboys and strong men who just take sh*t into their own hands and don't wait for permission. The author sets himself up to be some sort of modern cowboy with a batman twist, and Detroit is Gotham. Except he's not trying to save the city so much as the people.<br/>

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something with less of a Sin-City overtone.

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

NA

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It's an interesting book. I felt for the author and how he felt watching his city crumble. It's definitely an engaging one to listen to.

Any additional comments?

It's an interesting book and has a different perspective on what's going on in Detroit. If you're looking for thoughtful analysis, skip this book. If you want an in depth read about a frozen body and how it got there, this is your book. It's full of gruff language and some sympathy for the mess people are in. But mostly it's an ego trip for the author as he gets to act like he's in a war zone while still being in the US.

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Wow! Honest and Important

Everyone should read this book. It is an eye opening tale of an overlooked city.

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This is an autopsy you need to read

Would you listen to Detroit again? Why?

"Detroit" joins my list of re-reads for a couple of reasons: One, I want to follow up on some of the many back stories. For example -- the Johnnie Redding frozen in ice story is a real thing. Look it up. A little research will make this story even more poignant. <br/><br/>Secondly, it's just a great story, even it were a novel instead of a documentary it would be a great read. <br/><br/>Listening tip: Eric Martin is easy to listen to at 1.6 speed or even quicker. It makes the story move along even better. You won't want to put it down.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The author is certainly my favorite. He's an interesting person in his own right so getting his perspective on an interesting history is doubly good. Not only does he narrate the tale, he's a fundamental part of the story, making it a first person perspective in many chapters.

Which scene was your favorite?

Without giving up too much of the story, the author and his mother visit the bar where the author's sister took her last drink. It was obvious they didn't belong there but when the bar patrons found out they were related, everything changed. Walls were broken down.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Although there are few emotional "hooks" in the story ( at least for me, a passionate pragmatic) the subject, as a whole, is laden with gravitas. To see into the inner workings of a dying city is heart rending.

Any additional comments?

I don't know whether or not it was intentional but the author delves into the realm of race. He makes it obvious that corruption is color blind. Read this story.

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Very, very sad

Scary to think all this is happening today in the US. A story of crime, corruption, poverty and it's devastating impact on real people's lives.