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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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1392686,313 (3.66)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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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 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is not a place for people, this is not a place for people, this is not a place for people.

That thought came to Laskas while she was descending deep into an Ohio coal mine, and it likely came to her several times more during her research into this collection’s nine essays that profile people working at jobs relatively unknown to the general public. There are coal miners; migrant farm workers; NFL cheerleaders; air-traffic controllers; gun-store sales clerks; beef ranchers; oil-rig workers; long-haul truck drivers; and garbage landfill workers.

I love anything workplace-based and was excited to snag this. But between the time I won it and received it, I happened to read the essay about the truck driver in O Magazine ... and was disappointed. So disappointed that I mostly put off reading the book for a year. Having finished it now, I rate it “okay,” 3 stars; easy to read, portions interesting, large portions I wanted to skip.

As the subtitle suggests, these are profiles of the workers and their lives/lifestyles, with less about the actual work/workplace. Only two primarily profile a woman (the cheerleader and the truck driver), and the cheerleader piece is terrible and seems wholly out of place in this collection that’s otherwise about America’s infrastructure (as does the gun-store piece, although it was my favorite). Though not exactly the same concept, I recommend Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed much more. ( )
2 vote DetailMuse | Aug 29, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book, Hidden American is a great idea - tell the stories of people who work in often obscure, yet necessary places doing the work that helps all of us every day. What struck me most after finishing was the skewed gender perspective the book offered. Only 2 chapters out of 9 focused on female workers. Of the 2, one woman had a traditionally male job (truck driver), and the other woman was a cheerleader. The only female workers with traditionally female jobs were the cook in the migrant camp and the cheerleaders. The cook's place was in the periphery of the story of the migrant workers. The chapter on cheerleaders was interesting, but it belongs in another book. That being said, I did enjoy several of the chapters, and the book allows the reader to meet some interesting characters while learning more about the engines that allow us to enjoy the lifestyle we have. ( )
  nancyjune | Jul 27, 2013 |
Hidden America is another book I was introduced to by www.dearreader.com. I started reading the excerpts and liked it so much I ordered it. So glad I did, because I really really loved this book. It took me to worlds that are real, described them marvelously, complete with their fascinating denizens...and they're all right here in America. I was surprised to find so many reviewers here who weren't all that impressed with it. I think I am drawn to stories and books and TV shows and movie that show people at work -- it's so much a part of life, and of what makes the world go round. I learned so much from this book! The writing was top-tier journalistic prose and I think the author is marvelously talented. Thank you, Jeanne Marie Laskas! ( )
  MarthaHuntley | May 4, 2013 |
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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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