Detroit An American Autopsy review Î 3

Detroit An American Autopsy

review Detroit An American Autopsy

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

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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 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 really struck me of how bad it iswas until I read this bookOf all the horribly sad stories of innocent children dying homes set on fire for fun police and fire departments understaffed and ill euipped 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 cannot afford to bury them I find myself wondering if this really is true How can this happen in AmericaI was a teen in 1967 and remember the night of the Detroit riots well as my boyfriend whom I married there was driving me home from a date when we were stopped by a police officer who asked why we were out after curfew and was concerned for our safety We saw no evidence of any trouble in the downriver area where we lived other than the feel of being in a ghost town that eveningThe book is powerfully written and keeps you wanting to read but I have to say I was never afraid growing up there except when a tornado literally came down our street and although we were by no means well off there was always food on the table we played outside until dark or after walked to school stopped at Carter's for a burger where yes they had a soda fountain or shopped in the stores on Fort Street It was great growing up thereMy father worked for Ford Motor Company for 49 years first working on Model T's; then the war came and he made airplanes and tanks My brother worked there 32 years before he retired to stay home and care for my father who passed away at age 94I really did not intend 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 We never once felt threatened before during or after the games and had a great time with all the fans sitting around us regardless of race As an aside don't the Tiger's have one of the higher payrolls in baseball

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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 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 life story is intriguing the tale of the Motor City is almost too fantastic to believe and it's in this gritty unflinching and ultimately loving relaying that the book achieves its gloryAs 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 The SMH inducing stories are legion of course but to me even disappointing and mystifying is the reality that no one seems to be trying to fix it As LeDuff illustrates in a fascinating vignette in which he follows the money and paper trail with respect to fire department corruption the work of figuring out what's wrong is challenging but not impossible The if not totally dismaying part is that once exposed no one cares or does anything to correct the problems It's as if wrong has become the right in this upside down environment and is so 'normal' that it's not worthy of note Beyond the obvious uestion of how this could possibly come to be is the distressing one of why no one is trying to fix it as well as the consideration of whether this could this happen elsewhere because if so then all of us not just those who live in the 'D' now or like me used to need to take heedTechnically speaking the book is a rush as LeDuff is both a gritty and gifted writer and an insightful and righteous observer It's a vivid evocative page turner I laughed I cried I shook my head both in disgust and in surprise and experienced a full range of emotions as I traversed the sordid and sacred with the author Not that the book is perfect it's clear that there are a few editorial revisions and purposely omitted details that lessen its impact at times but it's exceedingly good in a bad way it's so transfixing that the reader will feel compelled to keep reading even though much of what is revealed is at best troubling and at worst inhumane And yet it's in this revelation of the pathos of the true humanity which at times is so lacking that one almost feels compelled to put the word in uotes that is its primary contributionIt'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 As the author notes in covering the horrible and shameful he invariably comes across good people unsure of how to repair their environment And it's in service to this silent but still concerned minority that the author contributes meaningfully Unfortunately the vast majority are cautionary tales but they're important reminders that collectively and individually we get what we settle forAnd yet I will likely never forget the story of Johnny Redding's tragic life and especially end Nor will I ever uite get over the brazen immorality of secondary players beyond its former hip hop mayor whose malfeasance was chronicled nationally like former councilwoman and now convict Monica Conyers whose conduct was as embarrassing as it was criminal the former police brass who fud

  • Hardcover
  • 304
  • Detroit An American Autopsy
  • Charlie LeDuff
  • English
  • 12 July 2019
  • 9781594205347

About the Author: Charlie LeDuff

Charlie LeDuff is a writer filmmaker and a multimedia reporter for The Detroit News He is a former national correspondent for The New York TimesHe covered the war in Ira crossed the desert with a group of migrant Mexicans and worked inside a North Carolina slaughterhouse as part of The Times series “How Race Is Lived in America” which was awarded the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for National Reportin

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