'Detroit: An American Autopsy,' By Charlie LeDuff. An Excerpt.

February 05, 2013, 9:49 PM

Charlie LeDuff's "Detroit: An American Autopsy," is available Thursday from The Penguin Press, its New York-based publisher. The price is $27.95, $29.50 in Windsor.

The 304-page book is an honest and raw memoir of LeDuff's 2008 return to metro Detroit, his hometown, after working as a reporter for the New York Times for 12 years. But his hometown had changed, he writes, having turned into "an industrial sarcophagus" and "an eerie and angry place of deserted factories and homes and forgotten people."  

LeDuff, a reporter for Fox 2 Detroit, writes in the prologue: 

"It is a book about family and cops and and criminals and factory workers. It is about corrupt politicians and a collapsing newspaper. It is about angry people fighting and crying and snatching hold of one another trying to stay alive."

A Boston Globe reviewer calls the book "morbidly funny," adding:

"If you’re looking for the definitive history of a city that showed the world how to make cars and soul music, this isn’t the place. But if you’re looking for slices of life with a whiff of rancid meat, LeDuff is your man. Detroit is suffering terribly, and the author feels compelled to tell it like it is."

Deadline Detroit presents a chapter titled "Lipstick and Laxatives." It deals principally with LeDuff's contacts with Monica Conyers, the "overfed buffoon" who was City Council president before going to prison for corruption, and Sam Riddle, whom LeDuff calls "a rakish con man" and who, LeDuff writes, described himself as Conyers' "pimp." Riddle also went to prison for corruption. 

Excerpted from DETROIT by Charlie LeDuff. Reprinted by arrangement with The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright (c) Charlie LeDuff, 2013.

Click here to download or read it below.

Leave a Comment: