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Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys,…

Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration… (edition 2012)

by Jeanne Marie Laskas

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1592875,058 (3.74)9
Title:Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work
Authors:Jeanne Marie Laskas
Info:Putnam Adult (2012), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:No Longer Own
Tags:jeanne marie laskas, nonfiction

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Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work by Jeanne Marie Laskas

  1. 00
    Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs by John Bowe (meggyweg)
  2. 00
    Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Another look at American workers.

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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Fascinating to read, but I almost wanted each chapter to be it's own book. I felt cheated out of the stories. Very interesting. ( )
  bookwormteri | May 24, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this. In the forward, the author says that the purpose of her book is to shed light on all the jobs that people do that allow us to live so comfortably. That she accomplishes this without being overly romantic or preachy is quite the feat. It definitely made me think about the people and the work they do that allows me to turn the lights on, throw the trash out, etc. with minimal hassle, but it was also an enjoyable and very human read. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
Laskas had often thought about the people behind the scenes, the ones who keep America supplied with products and services, the people we never seem to think about. She decided that she would choose 9 different job fields and learn what she could about the workers who fill the positions. Spending a month alongside coal miners in the Hopedale Mines in Cadiz, Ohio, turned out to be so much more than she thought before she took that first trip down into the earth on an elevator and then 6 more miles on a 'mantrip', or small train car. After the initial fear of the darkness and danger Lakas found herself strangely drawn to the lifestyle of the miners and was reluctant to leave it all behind at the end of the month. Next was a stay with migrant workers in Cherryfield, Maine, who harvested blueberries in one of the states that pays well and provides medical and education opportunites to the laborers. A visit to Cincinnati to find out about the BenGals, cheerleaders for the NFL Bengals turned out to be a fun trip but an eye-opening look at weight issues, perfect hair and makeup, and how little these girls are paid ($75 per game x 10 games = really?). A stint with air traffic controllers at LaGuardia is frightening in the amount of planes these people juggle on outdated equipment and mandatory overtime. Laskas spent time at a huge gun store in Yuma, Arizona, on a cattle ranch in Throckmorton, Texas, an oil rig on Alaska's northern slope, and riding with a female long haul trucker named Sputter through the midwest. Her last visit was at the Puente Hills Landfill in California where she learned just what it takes to handle the trash that America produces every single day. I was suprised, as was Laskas, to learn that some landfills pipe the methane gas to power stations that generate thousands of killowats of electricity to help with city power grids. Laskas seemed to enjoy every scenario that she placed herself in and that sense of adventure is evident in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed going along for the ride. ( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
In the tradition of Studs Terkel, revealing stories about people who impact our lives who most give little thought to: the coal miners and oil riggers who produce the energy we consume, the migrant workers who pick the fruit vegetables we eat, the air traffic controllers who keep the airplanes we fly in from crashing, and the gun shop owners who sell firearms to the lunatics who commit mass public shootings. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
I thought this book was terrific. I am familiar with Laskas' writing and like her sense of humor and honesty. She explores jobs that I have never considered in any way. Her essays about migrant workers, coal miners, and oil rig workers were particularly moving. ( )
  nevadaannie | Feb 8, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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Looks at the remarkable men and women whose low-profile accomplishments contribute to the running of the nation, from coal miners and oil rig workers to migrant laborers and air traffic controllers.

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Average: (3.74)
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