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A daring, firsthand, and utterly-unscripted account of crisis in America, from Ferguson to Flint to Cliven Bundy's ranch to Donald Trump's unstoppable campaign for President--at every turn, Pulitzer-prize winner and bestselling author of Detroit: An American Autopsy, Charlie LeDuff was there

In the Fall of 2013, long before any sane person had seriously considered the possibility of a Trump presidency, Charlie LeDuff sat in the office of then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, and made a simple but prophetic claim: The American people were at breaking point. The country was going broke and on high boil. No one in the bubbles of Washington, DC., New York, or Los Angles was talking about it--least of all the media. LeDuff wanted to go to the heart of the country to report what was really going on. Ailes baulked. Could the hard-living and straight-shooting LeDuff be controlled? But, then, perhaps on a whim, he agreed. And so LeDuff set out to record a TV series called, "The Americans," and, along the way, ended up bearing witness to the ever-quickening unraveling of The American Dream.

For three years, LeDuff travelled the width and breadth of the country with his team of production irregulars, ending up on the Mexican border crossing the Rio Grande on a yellow rubber kayak alongside undocumented immigrants; in the middle of Ferguson as the city burned; and watching the children of Flint get sick from undrinkable water. Racial, political, social, and economic tensions were escalating by the day. The inexorable effects of technological change and globalization were being felt more and more acutely, at the same time as wages stagnated and the price of housing, education, and healthcare went through the roof. The American people felt defeated and abandoned by their politicians, and those politicians seemed incapable of rising to the occasion. The old way of life was slipping away, replaced only by social media, part-time work, and opioid addiction.

Sh*tshow is that true, tragic, and distinctively American story, told from the parts of the country hurting the most. A soul-baring, irreverent, and iconoclastic writer, LeDuff speaks the language of everyday Americans, and is unafraid of getting his hands dirty. He scrambles the tired-old political, social, and racial categories, taking no sides--or prisoners. Old-school, gonzo-style reporting, this is both a necessary confrontation with the darkest parts of the American psyche and a desperately-needed reminder of the country's best instincts.



About the Author

Charlie LeDuff

Charlie LeDuff is a writer, filmmaker and a multimedia reporter for The Detroit News. He is a former national correspondent for The New York Times. He covered the war in Iraq, crossed the desert with a group of migrant Mexicans and worked inside a North Carolina slaughterhouse as part of The Times series "How Race Is Lived in America," which was awarded the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. In 2005 LeDuff was host and writer of "Only In America" - a 10-part television show of participatory journalism for the Discovery Times Channel. Among other things he brawled at a fight party held by an Oakland motorcycle gang, rode a bull at a gay rodeo, became a trapeze clown in a traveling circus of immigrants. LeDuff also hosted and co-produced "United Gates of America" for the BBC in 2006 where he moved into a gated city at the edge of the Los Angeles sprawl. There, he encounters Nazi youth, a porno director, a Christian housewife, the town good-time girl, the angry Mexican gardener and other all-stars of American life. He is the author of two books:"Work and Other Sins: Life in New York City and Thereabouts" (Penguin Press) "US Guys: The True and Twisted Mind of the American Man" (Penguin Press) Previously, LeDuff, 42, has worked as a carpenter, middle school teacher and gang counselor in Detroit, a bartender in Australia and a baker in Denmark. He lived in a tree house in Alaska and slept on the Great Wall of China. He speaks decent Spanish and bad Russian. LeDuff received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a master of journalism degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He lives with his wife and daughter near Detroit, Michigan.



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