Talking with Charlie LeDuff, even over a satellite link is an adventure. He moved out of the Motor City (like so many have), hit the heights of journalism with the New York Times ("heights", spelled P-u-l-i-t-z-e-r), only to quit and move back to the city of his roots. And what he found was surprising and depressing even to a reporter used to dealing with hard facts.
The crime, corruption, lethargy, racial divides ... all of it had cannibalized Detroit. LeDuff had to document it. And what a Hell of a book resulted. I wish everyone who reads Detroit: An American Autopsy could talk with Charlie. He's as much of a character as the character he writes about. You can tell he's aware of his big personality, his theatrical delivery and he uses it to entertain us into learning—to motivate us to push back.
Charlie called me after the interview to compliment me on making it a smooth conversation. All I did was open the door and let LeDuff work the room. Read the book. Really. You won't be disappointed.
When he comes to LA to visit, he says we're grabbing a drink. I'm holding him to it.