From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work
Berkley Publishing Group, Paperback, 9780425267271, 318pp.
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
In Hidden America, award-winning journalist Jeanne Marie Laskas dives deep into her subjects and emerges with character-driven stories about the people who make our lives run every day and yet we barely think of them.
Take the men of Hopedale Mining company in Cadiz, Ohio. Laskas spent several weeks with them, both below and above ground, and by the end, you will know not only about their work, but about Pap and his dying mom, Smitty and the mail-order bride who stood him up at the airport, and Scotty and his thwarted dreams of becoming a boxing champion.
That is only one hidden world. Others that she explores: an Alaskan oil rig, a migrant labor camp in Maine, the air traffic control center at LaGuardia Airport in New York, a beef ranch in Texas, a landfill in California, a long-haul trucker in Iowa, a gun shop in Arizona, and the Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleaders, mere footnotes in the moneymaking spectacle that is professional football.
“Jeanne Marie Laskas is a reporting and writing powerhouse…Hidden America is essential reading.”—Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
“A literary miracle. In effortlessly lucid prose, Laskas tells stories that spellbind precisely because they remind us of the center that quietly holds America together.”—Robert Draper, author of Do Not Ask What Good We Do
“In this thoroughly entertaining study of what some people do that other people would never do, journalist Laskas makes her subjects sing.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Each of these profiles rings true, offering an enlightening, entertaining, and often poignant glimpse into occupations that most of us know little about.”—The Huffington Post
“At a time when American workers seem most prized for their ability to serve as campaign props, Hidden America comes as a breath of fresh air with no political slant, no hidden motive.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Hearing [these] voices, it’s impossible not to see the world a little differently.”—The Daily Beast, Hot Read
“It’s not a stretch to use the name Studs Terkel in the same sentence with the name Jeanne Marie Laskas. She’s one hell of a journalist, a world-class storyteller. This is not just a good read, it’s an important one.”—Linda Ellerbee
“At once heartwarming, funny, sad, ironic, and most of all, insightful.”—Bob Schieffer
“A finely crafted look behind the curtains of everyday life—think Dirty Jobs for the literate set.”—Mike Sager, author of The Someone You’re Not
“A wondrous book, fierce and intimate in its investigations...Like Studs Terkel if he wrote novels and Tom Wolfe if he wrote about working folk.”—Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies and The Signal