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SUMMARY Detroit An American Autopsy

For decades that Detroit was an exception an outlier What LeDuff reveals is that Detroit is once and for all 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 city but Detroit An American Autopsy is no hopeless parable Instead LeDuff shares a deeply human drama of colossal greed ignorance endurance and courage Detroit is an unbelievable story of a hard town in a rough time filled with some of the strangest and strongest people our country has to offer and a black comic tale of the absurdity of American life in the twenty first centur. Intrigued by the beginning but thinking it could really go either way with this one by the time I reach the end the stories are always interesting but the journalistic machismo is getting distracting


Detroit An American Autopsy

In the heart of America a metropolis is uietly 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 another life Charlie LeDuff won the Pulitzer Prize reporting for The New York Times But all that is behind him now after returning to find his hometown in total freefall Detroit is where his mother’s flower shop was firebombed; where his sister lost herself to drugs; where his brother works in a f. It was a cold morning the fog had settled in low over the city and the mood on the street was grim as always I d just finished reading the daily rag and was throwing it in the trash when there was a knock at my doorDetective there s athere s a BOOK here to see you It says its name is Detroit An American AutopsyChrist Send it in Dolly and keep your mouth shut about it Dolly s full plum colored lip uivered as she turned to usher in the tome her ample breast heaving within the stretched cotton dress So you ve got the guts to show your face around here eh Detroit Long time no seeEh Times is tough 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 ink and we re all runnin out of hope That s where you come inI really hope that was as tedious to read as it was tedious to write But there now you know what Detroit An American Autopsy is all about It s miserable It s depressing But guys that s DETROIT Not one person in that miserable shit hole of a town has something going for them But no fear you ve got Charlie LeDuff journalist kamikaze cliche artist and city saver on handI 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 about him and his interactions with others it s not incumbent upon him to strive for a broad interpretation of what s happened to his hometown The narrower focus is safer for him I don t doubt that he s a savvy journalist and it s possible that he truly does interact with people in the way he does in this book but what he doesn t recognize is that every conversation really revolves around him and his manner of speaking not only renders him as a caricature but transforms those around him into mere set pieces in his ongoing family melodramaYet this book receives rave reviews and I m mystified Perhaps people consider him to be enigmatic I find him to be brash full of false bravado and generally repulsive as a character The misogyny is overwhelming women are described by their breasts and prophylactic tight dresses first character second if at all One baffling chapter has him fighting with his wife until she calls the cops He s then hauled off to jail comically invoking the 5th amendment outside of a courtroom Ostensibly this is to show just how deep he s in instead it just makes him even less likeable and makes me wonder if he was desperate to chew up pagesIt s probably impossible to get into a deeper discussion of racial issues in Detroit at the moment because it s too raw but I feel as though some of the raves for his work might be coming in because passages often though probably inadvertently contain a wink nod confirmation of what many people seem to love whispering about Detroit that for all that ails it what s really screwing it up is that THOSE PEOPLE ran it into the groundLeDuff will hammer home the idea that everyone screwed up over and over but it feels like each iteration of that is followed up with the wink nod but from where I stand sort of deal LeDuff s not racist I don t think it was his intent to make it seem that he places the blame on one entity than another But everything 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 cityThere are moments in this book when individuals shine in spite of the constraints he s placed upon them It s just a shame that he couldn t leave himself out of the story long enough to keep up that momentum for than a page or two

Charlie LeDuff ï 1 READ

Actory cleaning Chinese manufactured screws so they can 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 uncover 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 Americans have hoped. I am a native Detroiter who is still loyal to the city hoping it will again be a place where families can live a decent life in a cultural metropolitan city I picked up this book hoping for some answers on what happened to Detroit After all an autopsy promises some answers a beginning to unraveling a mystery of what happenedYou won t find any of that in this book The author lays down some anecdotal stories which while interesting weren t very fulfilling At this point we all know Detroit is rife with corruption that its politicians have been stealing from the city s citizens that Detroit s police and fire departments are struggling I wanted to learn how it got that way where it started who started this downward spiral Most of all I wanted to see some hope that Detroit could come back at least to the place it was when I was growing up A place you would shop and attend plays and venture out to eat at new restaurants with other families doing the same thingYou ll finish this book thinking Detroit may as well give up that someone should just come in and raze everything There s no discourse on Detroit s history the great neighborhoods the spirit of the people of Detroit the things that make the city have value and a reason for being Why are so many people fond of Detroit if this is all there is If you re from Detroit you know these things exist if you re not this book will just support the pervasive thinking that Detroit is nothing than a bombed out war zoneSo keep your money don t buy this book The author while his heart is certainly in the right place went for a superficial collection of sensational stories tales to tell your friends at the bar and threw in some personal asides about his family s history what these had to do with Detroit I couldn t figure out This book was somewhat entertaining but not the story it s title implies

10 thoughts on “Detroit An American Autopsy

  1. says:

    It was a cold morning; the fog had settled in low over the city and the mood on the street was grim as always I'd just finis

  2. says:

    It's sad how accurate this book is Charlie LeDuff isn't just from Detroit he's an insider His revelations about many of the stories I heard about on the local news are scary and completely believable My only criticism of the book if I

  3. says:

    WHAT AN EYE OPENER THAT READS LIKE A HORROR STORYWhew So much corruption at all levels of government local State and even Wayne County? I am shocked 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 years it never reall

  4. says:

    The city what's left of it burns night after night Nature in the form of pheasants hawks foxes coyotes and wild

  5. says:

    I am a native Detroiter who is still loyal to the city hoping it will again be a place where families can live

  6. says:

    Charlie is a friend but I say this regardless of that I enjoyed this book immensely I read it in bed at night and it made me want to stay up and read Now that may be because I know these stories and live in Detroit and know LeDuff but I think it's also because it's a good read It's not stifling academic lecturing It's down in the gutters A go

  7. says:

    This is a well written and well researched book that is nevertheless depressing as hellIt’s about Detroit and what a shithole it is written by a native Detroiter who came home after years to find it worse than when he leftJournalist Charlie LeDuff’s 2013 novel is about going back 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 P

  8. says:

    Intrigued by the beginning but thinking it could really go either way with this one by the time I reach the end the stories are always interesting but the journalistic machismo is getting distracting

  9. says:

    This is a powerful book so real as to be too much so at points Author Charlie LeDuff is unflinching in his portrayal of two stories his own and that of his hometown Detroit to which he returns at mid career While LeDuff's li

  10. says:

    This was a great book that I couldn't put down as much as you can say a book about a destroyed city is great What makes it great is the journalist author Charlie LeDuff who is from Detroit and has lost several family members to terrible situations there This makes it different from a detached paid to experience book that most journalists will write forgotten the minute they are published This is partly about the city of Detroit and partly

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