Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff, Penquin, 2013

Great writing that kept me up until I finished. Neither thriller nor detective, but in some ways both. Detroit is the home of America’s dream – moveable living room comfort that gives you the freedom to go anywhere and the well paying job to support it. This author does not mince words. He means death. The Detroit he describes and analyzes has died. Every politician and community leader should study this body to learn. Sprawl, racism, corruption, and shifting economics know few boundaries. There are no solutions without honest confrontation of the problems.

LeDuff’s family odessey weaves through the story. This is no ordinary observer. Death is too familiar.

He understands its pain, its victims, and the strength it takes to continue. Reading the stories and dialogs I kept thinking, this is real, not fiction. Gratiot

LeDuff does his own forensic analysis of financial misuse and the attendent supporting corruption. Some of it greases the political machines of various administrations. Other parts fatten the wallets of suppliers of city services. Street level recipients and politicians are too easy to finger as causes.

The author does implicate the mismanagement of the auto industry in Detroit’s death, but without the same intensity or detailed insight.

In the late 1980’s returning from a family vacation in Northern Michigan we drove down Gratiot Ave. It’s images and lessons remain part of family discourse.

More fascinating than the abondonment and decline are the interspersed tidy blocks of survivors.


About mielniczuk

Community, systems, design, collaboration, change, evidence, Intelligent Accountability(c)
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