Charlie LeDuff’s Detroit: An American Autopsy is brutally honest. In a story filled with corruption, anger, and even laughter, LeDuff goes into detail about the crumbling of an American city, and what is left of it. After leaving a job with the New York Times, LeDuff comes to find what was once a city that represented the American Dream, now rotting and broken.

LeDuff uses his personal experiences to describe Detroit’s financial problems, corruption, and high crime rate. He is able to make a story about America’s capital for unemployment, murder, and dropouts both interesting and eye-opening. LeDuff came back to Detroit in order to find out what ruined the city he once lived in. He sets out to uncover this mystery in a relentless and righteous style. He begins his journey with the local fire department, which constantly is fighting arson attacks with outdated supplies. LeDuff digs under the skin of corrupt politicians, police chiefs, and ministers throughout the city. He even reveals that the city’s murder rate was manipulated, making Detroit the city with the highest murder rate.

The book describes the struggles that Detroit has experienced and the media has covered, but also takes a personal side. Although LeDuff writes about many of the people who tore the city apart, he emphasizes the strength of the people who still hold the city together. His family experienced the horrors that occur in Detroit. LeDuff writes stories about his sister who died in the streets of Detroit, a niece who died of an overdose, and his brother who works in a minimum wage factory manufacturing Chinese screws that are labeled “May Be Made in Detroit.”

Recently, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was found guilty on 24 charges, including racketeering. In a city that does not have much hope left, there was finally justice. LeDuff still has hope for the only city in America to be occupied by the United States army on 3 different occasions. Despite the corruption, crime, and unemployment, the people of Detroit have survived and still have hope.

Detroit: An American Autopsy is exactly what the title suggests, a deep look into a city that was hit hard by the recession that America has experienced. The book tells stories of unemployment and struggles that many American’s have experience in the last five years.  LeDuff gives an eye opening account of a city that was once one of America’s richest, but has become one of the poorest.

To read other gE posts from books relating to international business, be sure to read all of the posts in our globalEDGE book series!

Share this article