Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Review: Detroit--An American Autopsy

This is the first work of Charlie LeDuff's that I have read but it probably won't be my last.

I picked up this book shortly after its release about a month or so ago as I am interested in the debacle that is the American auto industry and the city of Detroit.  I ended up learning a lot more than I had anticipated and that's one the best things you can say about any book.

I learned why Detroit, while firmly located in the Northern United States, is a most Southern city.  I learned about the horrific series of politicians in charge of Detroit over the past 50 years.  I learned that the 3,500,000 square ft. Packard Automotive plant that is set on 40 acres of land has been shuttered since 1958 remaining substantially abandoned.

I learned that I never want to move to Detroit.

To me the first half of the book is the most interesting as it goes into detail regarding the current state of Detroit and the myriad causes for its destruction.  LeDuff doesn't fail in his sskewering of pretty much everyone, from the automotive executives, to Wall Street bankers, to over indebted citizens, to corrupt black and white politicians, to drug abusers, to damn near every privileged and not so privileged class of people we have in this country.  Even LeDuff himself is not immune to his own pen as he pulls now punches in revealing his own faults.

The amount of information contained here is near staggering in its ability to depress and shock a reader over the status of this city.  Detroit belongs with the favelas of Brazil and the ghettos of Johannesburg, not in modern America and its all our own fault.  LeDuff turns an honest eye to it all and is needed reading for those examining modern urban America.

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