Synopses & Reviews
An explosive exposé of America's lost prosperity from Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Charlie LeDuff
Back in his broken hometown, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie LeDuff searches the ruins of Detroit for clues to his family's troubled past. Having led us on the way up, Detroit now seems to be leading us on the way down. Once the richest city in America, Detroit is now the nation's poorest. Once the vanguard of Americas machine age mass-production, blue-collar jobs, and automobiles Detroit is now America's capital for unemployment, illiteracy, dropouts, and foreclosures. 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 beats on the doors of union bosses and homeless squatters, powerful businessmen and struggling homeowners and the ordinary people holding the city together by sheer determination. Detroit: An American Autopsy 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.
"LeDuff returns, by the books end, to the bar where his sister was last seen, only to find it unrecognizable. A black man outside explains the changes. 'they trying to put something nice up' in this hellhole he says, speaking of the bar specifically, though his words spread across the city and pay tribute, in equal measure, to its dreamers, its pessimists and to those, resigned and wrung out, who love it despite all. 'Can't say it's working. But what you gonna do? You ain't gonna be reincarnated, so you got to do the best you can with the moment you got. Do the best you can and try to be good.' LeDuff has done his best, and his book is better than good." Paul Clemens, New York Times Book Review
"One cannot read Mr. LeDuff's amalgam of memoir and reportage and not be shaken by the cold eye he casts on hard truths....A little gonzo, a little gumshoe, some gawker, some good-Samaritan — it is hard to ignore reporting like Mr. LeDuff's." The Wall Street Journal
“A book full of both literary grace and hard-won world-weariness....Iggy Pop meets Jim Carroll and Charles Bukowski” Kirkus, Starred Review
“What to do when you're a reporter and your native city is rotting away? If you're LeDuff, you leave the New York Times and head into the wreckage to ride with firemen, hang with the corrupt pols, and retrace your own family's sad steps through drugs. Others have written well about the city, but none with the visceral anger, the hair-tearing frustration, and the hungry humanity of LeDuff.” Newsweek
About the Author
Charlie LeDuff is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, formerly at the New York Times and the Detroit News, and currently on Detroit's Fox 2 News. He was one of several reporters who worked on The New York Times series "How Race Is Lived in America," which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2001. He alsoproduced a ten-part television series of participatory journalism called O" for Discovery Times. LeDuff has covered the war in Iraq, crossed the border with Mexican migrants, and chronicled a Brooklyn fire house in the aftermath of 9/11. The author of Detroit, US Guys, and Work and Other Sins, he lives near Detroit.