• Detroit

  • An American Autopsy
  • By: Charlie LeDuff
  • Narrated by: Eric Martin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (1,293 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the heart of America, a metropolis is quietly 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.

With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark and the righteous indignation that only a native son can possess, journalist Charlie LeDuff sets out to uncover what has brought low this once-vibrant city, his city. In doing so, he uncovers the deeply human drama of a city filled with some of the strongest and strangest people our country has to offer.

©2013 Charlie LeDuff (P)2013 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"Full of both literary grace and hard-won world-weariness...Iggy Pop meets Jim Carroll and Charles Bukowski." ( Kirkus)

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What listeners say about Detroit

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

WOW

LeDuff delivers on the shocking goings-on of Detroit from the super-corrupt mayor to a super-corrupt judge to firemen who have to buy their own toilet paper because budgets are so mismanaged (ie, money pocketed by officials). Wish it was a tad more hopeful at the end, but it is what it is.

Narrator was good - think this is my first listen with him. But it would've been nice if some research had been done first to pronounce Detroit words correctly. Kil-PA-trick instead of KILL-patrick (who says that?). Mak-in-ack instead of Mack-in-aw Island. And the like.

Overall, quite good and mesmerizing.

30 people found this helpful

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Dystopia Defined

It is frustrating when a fascinating topic falls into the hands of an incapable writer. LeDuff's clunky writing style with horribly placed similes, disjointed narrative, and poor choice of main characters make this a really tough read.
First, LeDuff uses similes that seem picked at random from a quote book with little thought as to their appropriateness and or clarity. As the reader fumbled over these literary gaffs you think, gosh, where was the editor. It is only downhill from there.
Trying to follow the narrative of the story is worse and you come out feeling there was no editor. LeDuff skips around, sprinkling in autobiographical details here and there, then finally decides to tell his autobiography at the end of the book. It's like the publisher came back and said you need another twenty pages and he decided to go ahead and fill it with his story. The details of the book are told in a head spinning back and forth manner that epitomizes the poor edit quality. Is the book about the mayor, city council, firefighters, factories, or what? He is too scared to even delve into the real economics of the collapse of Detroit's car industry.
Detroit is full of stories and angles to tell of its downfall, but the choice of firefighters was a poor one. He chooses to tell the story from the view of how the fire departments are run down and the role corruption has played in that, but by focusing on the fire department the true causes for Detroit's collapse are left unanswered.
LeDuff spends too much time on insignificant details he himself claims were not root causes, only symptoms. He ignores the important work that needs to be done on this topic. Namely, how both private and public sector wealth is being squandered and the middle class is left to pay the social and economic price.
I would give this book a pass. Find an author with a socio-economic I.Q.

17 people found this helpful

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Powerful

Honestly, I bought this book because it was on the $5 book list and I thought that it might be nice to learn more about what has happened to Detroit. I never thought the book would turn out to be this good. It is a true story that reads like a novel. It is really powerful and it made me think a lot about where the rest of America was heading. It is gruesome in parts and sometimes I forgot that this book is a true story - you really don't want to believe that these kinds of things are not fiction. I highly recommend it.

14 people found this helpful

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Car wreck fascinating

Was Detroit worth the listening time?

Detroit takes several story lines and weaves them together to give the reader a broad, but depressing, view of the largest bankrupt city in the world. The book revolves around Charles LeDuff's family experiences in the city, with a healthy dose of stories mixed in from his days as a Detroit newspaper journalist. It definitely held my interest, the power, corruption, death, and inability of Detroiters to quit swirling the drain by backing the same policies over and over definitely makes for a gripping story. It tends to blend together sometimes, and you have to pay attention to the plot line carefully, but Detroit's an interesting read none the less.

11 people found this helpful

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Couldn't stop listeneing

What made the experience of listening to Detroit the most enjoyable?

I bought this book because I wanted to get a history of Detroit and I got so much more. I was born and raised on the East Side and Charlie gives a voice to the struggle of the city. I can feel Detroit in the way he writes, and it helps me better understand where I came from, how the city molded me. He gives words to what so many people feel. This is an amazing audible title. I'll listen to this one again. Thanks Charlie!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Monica Conyers

What does Eric Martin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He brings a voice to the book that puts you right in the story.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"This is America bro, there's no such thing as spare change..."

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Detroit as the canary in the coal mine

A brutal look at the decaying city of Detroit brought low by unabated greed, corruption, and a world that has left it behind. The tragic stories of those trying to keep a shred of humanness as they struggle a lonely existence through a dystopian city is told by the author in a very in your face gloomy manor that tries to use Detroit demise as a wake up call for the rest of us.

9 people found this helpful

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He tells it like it is

I am from the suburbs of Detroit and it was easy to picture all of the places Charlie takes you. Learned things about area (good & bad) I didn't know. Also interesting stories of some of the local politics - people should be ashamed of themselves! Charlie is a great character and the reader did a good job in capturing that personality

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Harrowing

A wringing account of the demise of Detroit. Almost mind-numbing in its dark detail, but impossible to put down. Not for those with delicate ears. Heavy with the actual profanity of modern-day Detroit.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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It is a story not just of Detroit

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It is a great story of how a major American city has deteriorated and is circling the drain. Much of what happened in Detroit is happening in other American cities and it paints a dim view of the future of our country.

What other book might you compare Detroit to and why?

Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis---and the People Who Pay the Price by Jonathan Cohn.

More stories of the little guy who is disposable in the eyes of corporate America.

What does Eric Martin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His narration flows well and keeps the listener engaged.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would have but I enjoyed it so much that I rationed it listening only an hour a day so that I could think about what was being related and how much it paints the same picture for much of America.

Any additional comments?

Our country is circling the drain. The 1 percent don't care as long as the craziness doesn't impact them. Big money runs the country and looks after itself. This is the story of the bottom five percent and it bodes ill for the future of the US. People should read or listen to this book then think about where we are as a country and where we are going.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Gritty and authentic, just like Detroit

Any additional comments?

LeDuff's narrative of the Motor City squalor is gritty and authentic. The city IS a mess and he pulls no punches. He weaves the city's story with his family's history and demons artfully, albeit with blue collar language and coarseness that makes the book unsuitable for younger readers.

6 people found this helpful