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A Washington Post reporter's intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin - Paul Ryan's hometown - and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class.
This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its factory stills - but it's not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next, when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up.
Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin, where the nation's oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America's biggest political issues human. Her reporting takes the listener deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job retrainers to show why it's so hard in the 21st century to re-create a healthy, prosperous working class.
For this is not just a Janesville story or a Midwestern story. It's an American story.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Rick Wilson on 11-18-17
A Human Portrayal of the Recession
I thought Amy Goldstein did a fantastic job of showing the human side of political policy and corporate decisions. The stories she told were emotional and often very moving.
Joy Osmanski did a great job narrating.
While I may disagree on a political level with the conclusions reached in this book, I am happy that I listened to it.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Justin Rabbach on 08-06-18
A great look at a changing economy
The author does a fantastic job of telling a story in a unique way. The closing of the GM plant in Janesville, WI played out in the headlines, and in articles full of stats that were hard to really comprehend in terms of human impact. This book tells the story from the perspective of a community and several families that have felt the impact for more than a decade now.
This book isn't a political statement, but a look at the impacts of an "invisible hand" economy, and how politicians can try to make an impact or not.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By simon cooke on 03-17-18
Excellent glimpse into a changing community.
fascination longform look at the devastation of a community following economic change. Essential reading for a better understanding of the challenges working class people face and the lack of control from major economic shocks. This is as relevant to many parts of the UK as it is to the US.
By Flink on 11-11-17
Interesting and humanizing
Gives names and faces to the residents of towns where major employers stop operations. Very interesting. Wish we could have gotten a better understanding of rescue relations between Janesville and the other town that made up the Rock 5.0. But, that's a small gripe.