American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears Book Review

The American economy is built on and fortified by the average worker. It is through our blood, sweat, and tears that this country has thrived in spite of all odds. But that fact is often forgotten when some jobs are shipped out of state, or worse, out of the country so those at the top can save a few bucks.

American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears, by Farah Stockman, was published this month. The book follows three different factory employees who were all employed at the Rexnord factory. Shannon is a single Caucasian mother who breaks boundaries by being one of the first women to take on what was an only male position. Wally, an African-American man, dreamed of opening his own barbecue restaurant but paid the bills by working on the factory floor. John, who is also Caucasian, was a machine operator who came from a family whose livelihood was supported by union jobs.

When the jobs leave and an entire community is affected, what are the repercussions? Not just on an economic level, but for the individual who lost both their income and identity? Stockman explores how these decisions create ripple effects that have the potential to forever change the outlook and the future of the employees, their families, and society as a whole.

What I liked about this book is how thorough the author is. By telling the stories of these three individuals, she takes the reader behind the headlines to see the real people whose lives are forever upended when their places of employment are physically moved elsewhere. As someone who works a white-collar job and sits at a desk for seven hours a day, I did not fully appreciate how important and overlooked these professions are.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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