*** Hidden America by Jeanne Marie Laskas


Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People W ho Make This Country Work may not be worth all three stars, but it stood well above the other books I read lately, so there.

The book explores the lives of workers that mostly live behind the scenes: coal miners (in the best, first chapter), truck drivers, farm workers, and, rather inexplicably, football cheerleaders (talk about a not behind-the-scenes job!) The author has spent time in each of these communities and displays great empathy for the workers, who often work in difficult conditions. What I loved about the book was two things: the details of the various workplaces, although I would have liked to read more in-depth accounts of typical workdays, and the warm camaraderie she found across job families, even for workers, such as truck drivers, who spent much of their time on their own.

I did not love the rather inane dialogs she inserts here and there, which seem not to add anything to the stories. But you can skip them, right?

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