December 21, 2013

Detroit: An American Autopsy

"Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus: We hope for better things; it shall rise from the ashes." ~ City of Detroit Motto

"No one cared much about Detroit until the Dow collapsed in 2008, the economy melted down and the chief executives of the Big Three went to Washington, D.C., to grovel. Detroit became epic, historic, symbolic, hip even." ~ pg. 13 

Once the richest city in America, Detroit is now the nation's poorest and recently filed for bankruptcy. To outsiders, Detroit is well known as Motown and The Motor City. Great musicians began careers here. Installment purchasing (car loans and leasing) was invented here in 1919 by General Motors. Now the foreclosure, unemployment and illiteracy rates are among the highest of big cities.

"Go ahead and laugh at Detroit. Because you are laughing at yourself." ~ pg. 15

After leaving the city two decades ago, journalist Charlie LeDuff returns home to research the city that he once knew through interviews with politicians, struggling homeowners, factory workers, homeless squatters and union heads. He doesn't simply report their answers but instead let the people tell of experiences by using their own words. LeDuff also shares his own experiences.

"At the end of the day, the Detroiter may be the most important American there is because no one knows better than he that we're all standing at the edge of the shaft." ~ pg. 16

As Charlie LeDuff writes in his Acknowledgements, "Corn does not grow alone. And books do not write themselves." I am Detroiter and thank LeDuff for writing this book of reportage about our proud city. He earned credibility in the first chapter when he correctly pronounced Gratiot "Gra-shit." I instantly thought, oh, this man knows his stuff. LeDuff is not some random author that wrote about a city he only read about in news. He actually lived here, reports the news here on Fox 2; Detroit is his home. He is not sugarcoating its history or its current status. Detroit: An American Autopsy is recommended to all: Detroiters, suburbanites, urban city residents, geography and history buffs. It is not a feel good, happy go lucky book. It tells the true unbiased story of a strong nation.

Detroit Flag Photo Credit:
Watch the video below of a book reading by Charlie LeDuff earlier this year. Then borrow, buy or download the best nonfiction book of 2013.

Title: Detroit: An American Autopsy
Author: Charlie LeDuff
Published: February 2013
Pages: 252
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

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