EAST BAY BOOKSELLERS welcomes Charlie LeDuff to the store to discuss his new book, Sh*tshow!: The Country’s Collapsing . . . and the Ratings Are Great, on Wednesday, June 6th at 7pm.
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 whole country is bankrupt and on high boil. It’s a shitshow out there. 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. Old-school, gonzo-style reporting, LeDuff confronts the darkest parts of the American psyche and a desperately-needed reminder of the country’s best instincts.
About the Author
Charlie LeDuff is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, formerly at the New York Times and the Detroit News, and currently on Detroit’s Fox 2 News. He was one of several reporters who worked on the New York Times series “How Race Is Lived in America,” which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2001. LeDuff has covered the war in Iraq, crossed the border with Mexican migrants, and chronicled a Brooklyn fire house in the aftermath of 9/11. The author of Detroit, US Guys, and Work and Other Sins, he lives near Detroit.