Random slings & arrows

Go Between the Covers with Charlie LeDuff, Whose ‘Detroit: An American Autopsy’ Is Out Soon

Charlie LeDuff book cover“Just got the hard copy of my new book, ‘Detroit: An American Autopsy’,” popular journalist Charlie LeDuff tells social media followers this weekend. “Release date is Feb. 7.”

A trade review in Publishers Weekly describes it as “an edgy portrait of the decline, destruction, and possible redemption of his hometown.”

In a spare, macho style, with a discerning eye for telling details, LeDuff writes with honesty and compassion about a city that’s destroying itself—and breaking his heart.

The 46-year-old former reporter for the New York Times (1995-2007) and The Detroit News (2008-10) has been a Fox 2 investigative reporter for just over two years.

In “Autopsy,” he writes about familiar local characters — in the extreme sense of that word: Kwame Kilpatrick, Monica Conyers, Adolph Mongo, the ice man of 2009, Detroit firefighters, struggling homeowners, do-gooders, evil-doers and so forth.

The 304-page book from Penguin Press is illustrated by a kindred spirit — photographer Danny Wilcox Frazier, whose online bio says he focuses on “marginalized communities both in and outside the United States.”

The publisher, with amped-up hype that makes even LeDuff seem restrained, promises “an explosive exposé of Detroit, icon of America’s lost prosperity.”

With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark — and the righteous indignation only a native son possesses — LeDuff sets out to uncover what destroyed his city. . . . LeDuff shares a deeply human drama of colossal greed, ignorance, endurance, and courage.

Charlie LeDuffThis is LeDuff’s third book, following “Work and Other Sins: Life in New York and Thereabouts” (2003) and “US Guys: The True and Twisted Mind of the American Man” (2007).

In contrast to the breathless marketing spin about the upcoming release is a comment from local fan Jim Verros on the author’s Facebook page: “Looking forward to picking a copy up and getting it signed by the “real” mayor of Detroit.”

How about you — also want to get a copy?

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