Monday, February 17, 2014

Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

"Detroit was beginning to wear my ass out. I didn't have the usual reportorial detachment anymore. This was home. This was where I lived. This was where I was raising my kid, and my sister's kid dies in some dark basement not six weeks after I arrive. And this morning I'm watching grown men cheer the demolition of a shit box as though it were the Berlin Wall coming down. 
 I looked out the window realizing that Detroit was doing something to me that a story's never done to me before. It was hurting."   (Charlie LeDuff in Detroit, an American Autopsy)

One of the first books of the year under my belt is Charlie LeDuff's "autopsy" for Detroit. It's irreverent, raw and disturbing. There are moments of hope. Moments where you can see something glimmer through the cloud cast over this city…but don't mistake this for a tale of redemption. LeDuff was a staff writer at the New York Times and then went on to be a reporter at the Detroit News. In this book, he dives into his home town and attempts to discover what caused its downfall, explores his own family history, takes you into local firehouses, political corruption and poverty that can make you shudder. It is almost hard to believe this is an American city. Find the NYT book review here.

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