** Factory Man by Beth Macy


I enjoyed Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local – and Helped Save an American Town — but not so much because of the offshoring theme, which I thought was full of (boring to me) legal battles. The best part of the story for me was that of the Bassett family, from the founder of the eponymous furniture manufacturing company to his great-grand-son. Along the way lie political lobbying to get the all-important railroad close to the factory; the complicated family matters of a man who fathered children with “the help”; the ugly racial history of a company that employed African Americans (at a time when most would not) but placed them in the worst jobs, at a lower pay; the damage that unchecked consultants with alluring “vision” can wreak on an old-fashioned family business; and the brutal family intrigues that favored a son-in-law over a son (sad that the daughter being favored through the son-in-law should probably have been the one to inherit the business!), and one cousin over another. Juicy!

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