A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist sets off on a trip across the country to document what he sees as an unraveling nation, stopping in Ferguson, Flint, Cliven Bundy's ranch, and Donald Trump's campaign for the Presidency.
LeDuff dug deep. And he was persistent as well as creative. He got his stories, often at great risk to his own life and the lives of his cameramen ... LeDuff is perceptive ... The book is as breezy as his speech—street-level straight talk, and salty. It’s a reading pleasure that makes the content easier to take ... LeDuff is a fine storyteller, a hardworking journalist and an honest witness (with all the weaknesses of honest witnesses). I wouldn’t want him running the country (he actually recommended himself to Trump as VP), but he’s a great one to have on your side.
I was not quite midway through Charlie LeDuff's Sh*tshow when I realized it was...a punk-rock look at modern America and the toxic media circus described by the title ... LeDuff's gonzo reporting is nothing if not braggadocious, intent on establishing the author's first-person street-and-barroom cred. Throughout Sh*tshow! LeDuff faces off with rent-a-cops and real ones, sleeps on the floor of fleabags, eats wild-rabbit stew with Wonder Bread and margarine ... LeDuff's episodes range from brilliant storytelling to pointless ... Too often LeDuff is there and gone. So Sh*tshow! begins to feel thin, even when you're pretty sure he's nailing it. America has some deep stories to tell right now, but LeDuff's approach can feel as distracted as the Twitterverse ... Sh*tshow! is a book for our time—quick, raging, easily devoured, prone to populist formulations. It can be exhilarating for the originality of its take on where we are, and then it can dump on us fluffy, pompous pronouncements that feel way too easy.
Mr. LeDuff is a capable writer. His first-person, gonzo-style narration, full of profanity and asinine comments, is a bit of a shtick, but it’s often funny. The trouble with the book is that it’s just like a TV series—it never stays in one place long enough for us to learn anything ... The chapters are just long enough to include a madcap anecdote or two ... But he’s far too impatient to witness anything so complex as a nation’s unspooling.