Publication Date: October 12, 2021
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What really happens when Americans lose their jobs? In this illuminating story of ruin and reinvention, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Farah Stockman follows three workers whose lives unravel when the factory they have dedicated so much to closes down. The result is a startling, up close look at the profound role work plays in our lives, communities, economy, and in our sense of identity and belonging.
Shannon, Wally, and John built their lives around their place of work. Shannon, a white single mother, became the first woman to run the factory’s dangerous furnaces at the Rexnord manufacturing plant in Indianapolis and was proud of producing one of the world’s top brands of steel bearings. Wally, a black man known for his initiative and kindness, was promoted to become chairman of efficiency, one of the most coveted posts on the factory floor, and dreamed of starting his own barbecue business one day. John, a white machine operator, came from a multigenerational union family and clashed with a work environment that was increasingly hostile to organized labor. The Rexnord factory had served as one of the economic engines for the surrounding community. When the factory closed, hundreds of people lost their jobs. What had life been like for Shannon, Wally, and John, before the factory closed? And what became of them after the factory moved to Mexico and Texas?
American Made is a story about people and a community struggling to reinvent itself. It is also a story about race, class, and American values, and how jobs serve as a bedrock of people’s lives and drive powerful social justice movements. This revealing book is also about this political moment, when joblessness and uncertainty about the future of work have made themselves heard at a national level. Most of all it is a story about people: who we consider to be one of us, and how the dignity of work lies at the heart of who we are.
Story Locale: Indianapolis, IN
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