"Detroit: An American Autopsy" by Charlie LeDuff is a horrifying account of how one of the largest American cities of the 20th century has turned into a dysfunctional madhouse in the 21st. Do not read this book if you are depressed because you may just come out feeling much worse.
LeDuff, a native of Detroit, tells how his career as a newspaper journalist stalls, leaving him few options. He returns to report for the Detroit Free Press where he sees firsthand what depravities have been unleashed on the citizens of the once-great metropolis. LeDuff makes friends with local firefighters who, like firefighters everywhere, risk their lives daily in the course of their work. The difference in Detroit is that arson is rampant, profitable and easy because of the abundance of vacant buildings. Graft, inefficiency and apathy leave the fire houses understaffed, underequipped and overworked to a degree that boggles the mind.
His investigations lead Charlie LeDuff to find the details of how money, lives and opportunities are misused and wasted. He sees how monumental the problems are and that virtually no one has the wherewithal to overcome the blight that is Detroit.
LeDuff's family is not spared, and he uncovers some previously hidden facts about his heritage that are very interesting and well worth the read.
--Julie C., Headquarters