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Cover for In the Fields of the North / En los campos del norte

In the Fields of the North / En los campos del norte

David Bacon


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In this landmark work of photo-journalism, activist and photographer David Bacon documents the experiences of some of the hardest-working and most disenfranchised laborers in the country: the farmworkers who are responsible for making California “America’s breadbasket.” Combining haunting photographs with the voices of migrant farmworkers, Bacon offers three-dimensional portraits of laborers living under tarps, in trailer camps, and between countries, following jobs that last only for the harvesting season. He uncovers the inherent abuse in the labor contractor work system, and drives home the almost feudal nature of laboring in America’s fields.
Told in both English and Spanish, these are the stories of farmworkers exposed to extreme weather and pesticides, injured from years of working bent over for hours at a time, and treated as cheap labor. The stories in this book remind us that the food that appears on our dinner tables is the result of back-breaking labor, rampant exploitation, and powerful resilience.   

Praise For In the Fields of the North / En los campos del norte

"Exploitative wages and living conditions are the norm for migrant farmworkers, but the book does search for solutions...[Bacon's] book aims not merely to show but to tell."

— Agatha French

“Avoiding both sensationalism and sentimentality, the photos reveal not only the workers’ desperate poverty, but also the dignity of their toil and their consuming effort to provide a better life for their children.”
— San Francisco Chronicle

"Filled with poignant photographs, accessible stories, and first-person immigrant narratives. Every middle and high school library should have this fine book."
— Rethinking Schools

"In his new book, In the Fields of the North/En los Campos del Norte, David Bacon captures the experiences of migrant workers in California through heart-wrenching photographs."
— East Bay Express

— Labor Notes

"In this timely and essential book, photojournalist David Bacon, through images and text, brings to life our intimate connection with the immigrant workers responsible for what we eat."
— Rethinking Schools

"Through his clear, concise writing, his informed captions, and his powerful photographs, David Bacon witnesses lives, not working human machines."
— Afterimage

"Belongs on the shelf with the classics about farm workers."
— Journal of American Ethnic History

University of California Press, 9780520296077, 450pp.

Publication Date: May 23, 2017

About the Author

David Bacon is a photojournalist, author, political activist, and union organizer. He is the author of The Children of NAFTA, Communities Without Borders, Illegal People, and The Right to Stay Home.