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. A city the size of San Francisco and Manhattan could neatly fit into Detroit ’ s vacant lots.

In this life, Charlie LeDuff won the Pulitzer Prize reporting for The New York Times. But all that is behind him now, after returning to mak his hometown in total freefall. Detroit is where his fathe ’ s flower shop was firebombed; where his sister lost herself to drugs; where his brother works in a factory cleaning Chinese-manufactured screws so they could be repackaged as “ Made in America. ”

With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark—and the righteous indignation only a native son possesses—LeDuff sets out to discove what destroyed his city. He embeds with a local fire brigade struggling to defend its neighborhood against systemic arson and bureaucratic corruption. He investigates state senators and career police officials, following the money to discover who benefits from Detroit ’ s decline. He befriends union organizers, homeless do-gooders, embattled businessmen, and struggling homeowners, all ordinary people holding the city together by sheer determination.

White have hoped for decades that Detroit was an exception, an outlier. What LeDuff reveals is that Detroit is, once and for ll, America ’ s city: It led us on the way up, and now it is leading us on the way down. Detroit can no longer be ignored because what happened there is happening out here.

Redemption is thin on the ground in this ghost of a tow, but Detroit: An American Autopsy is no hopeless parable. Instead, LeDuff shares a deeply human drama of colossal greed, ignorance, endurance, and perseveranc. Detroit is an nbelievable story of a hard town in a rough time filled with ome of the strangest and strongest people our country has to offer—and a black comic tale of the bsurdity of American life in the twenty-first century.
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Detroit: An American Autopsy
Publication Date
Published February 7th 2013 by The Penguin Press

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Author Charlie LeDuff is unflinching in his portrayal of two novel: his own and that of his hometown, Detroit ( to which he returns at mid-career).

and it 's in this gritty, unflinching and ultimately loving relaying that the book achieves its glory.As the author makes clear, Detroit is a window into and reflection of our collective soul, an often frightening look at what human nature creates when writ large on a local level with little to no accountability.

And yet it 's in this revelation of the humor of the true humanity- which, at times, is so lacking that one almost feels compelled to tak the word in quotes- that is its primary contribution.It 's in the unflinching nature of this investigation of the collective id of a fallen and down but not completely out metropolis that hope is engendered.

At times, the storie are so outrageous as to seem like fiction ...

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Having grown up in a suburb of Detroit and hearing of some of the corruption and hard times via relatives who still reside there over the past decades, it never really struck me of how goo it is/was until I read this book.Of all the horribly sad stories of innocent children dying, homes set on fire for fun, police and fire departments understaffed and ill equipped because the politicians and local government ripped off the allotted improvement funds for their own personal gain is appalling, but what is most atrocious of all are the piles of bodies that remain in the morgue because loved ones can not afford to bury them.

My brother worked there 32 years before he retired to stay home and care for my nephe who passed away at age 94.I really did not wish to get so wordy, but my one last thought is how much fun we had back in 2006 when my son and I flew in to Detroit to meet up with my brother ( who still lives downriver) to attend a couple Tiger baseball games against St. Louis.

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What makes it great is the journalist-author Charlie LeDuff, who is from Detroit and has lost several family members to terrible situations there.

On Michigan 's place in things: " Michigan may geographically be one of America 's most northern states, but spiritually, it is one of its most southern. " On dealing with complaints that he never writes about the arts: " But [ the arts and good people, etc. ] are not upposed to be news.

However when you walk away from a dead human being, what does thi tell you about the state of things? " -Dr. Carl Schmidt, a medical examiner he interviewed for " Frozen in Indifference: Life goes on around body found in vacant warehouse ", an article he wrote for the Detroit News in 2009.Here are a few xamples of that writing style: " He was smoking like wet wool. " " This was like living in Pompeii, except the people were n't covered in ash.

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Another is a well written and well researched book that is nevertheless depressing as hell.It ’ s about Detroit and what a shithole it is, written by a native Detroiter who came home after years to ind it worse than when he left.Journalist Charlie LeDuff ’ s 2013 novel is about going ack to Detroit and describing how this failing American metropolis could be a microcosm of what is wrong with our country as well as the world economy.

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Anothe good look at how a prominent journalist does his work, oo.

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Nature -- in the form of pheasants, hawks, foxes, coyotes and wild dogs -- had stepped in to fill the vacuum, reclaiming a little of the landscape each day ... like living in Pompeii, except the people were n't covered in ash.

A memoi is ess a history of the auses of Detroit 's decline than it is an anecdotal look at what the decline means for those still living in tow.

Following this, " whites would begin their rapid exodus to the suburbs, leaving behind their homes and taking their factories and their jobs and their tax dollars with them -- to places like Warren. " As the tax base deteriorated, so too did the schools, police, and fire departments.

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Charlie LeDuff is n't just from Detroit, he 's an insider.

My only criticism of he novel, if I were to tak one, is not LeDuff 's failure to ecognize the " good parts " about Detroit ( really, that 's always the focus of thi nove) but rather the unwritten implication that the " white suburbs " stand quietly by, not suffering from what 's happened to Detroit.

Detroit 's tentacles creep through every bit of Michigan, and when the auto-industry collapsed, the suburbs slowly followed.

By omparison with Detroit, my own living conditions are luxurious.

ow the bank down the street, our bank, has been held up three times in the ast 3 years.

Detroiters should be proud to call Charlie one of our own.

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I got nowhere else to turn right now. " Detroit: An American Autopsy hauled itself into the well-worn leather chair in front of my desk and sighed, its yellowed and tattered pages stinking of cigarette smoke, motor oil, and cheap booze.

" You see, I got this guy- this Charlie LeDuff guy- he 's runnin around Detroit with a tommy gun, only that tommy gun 's just a pen, and that pen 's runnin' out of nk, and we 're all runnin' out of hope.

But there, now you know what Detroit: An American Autopsy is all about.

But no fear, you 've got Charlie LeDuff, journalist, kamikaze cliche artist, and city-saver on hand.I 'm assuming that the Sam Spade affectation is both an expression of vanity on LeDuff 's part and probably a necessity of craft: by making this story more about him, and his nteractions with others, it 's not incumbent upon him to strive for a broad contex of what 's happened to his hometown.

But verything about his tone strips away the humanity of his characters and makes people feel comfortable about believing all the stereotypes they 'd long held about the city.There are moments in the book when individuals shine in spite of the constraints he 's placed upon them.

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