Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hidden America

Hidden America has a wonderful premise – exploring the careers that keep America running is a fascinating idea. There are so many behind-the-scenes jobs in America that a book like this is the perfect way to get a sneak peek at careers that we often take for granted. With themes like coal mining, migrant labor, ranching, and landfill operation, readers get a great taste of some of the hardest workers in the nation. Unlike working in a classroom, law office, or medical practice, these careers are not mainstream and the average American typically knows little of them. That is what made this an interesting (and unique) read. Each chapter can be read on its own because each focuses on a different career and allows the reader to explore a different aspect of little-known American careers. Unfortunately, Hidden America lacks the voice that would really being personality to the tales of the workers. I was intrigued by all of the aspects of being an air traffic controller and a Ben-Gal cheerleader, but Jeanne Marie Laskas’ style is lacking – it comes across as incredibly conversational with lots of worker dialogue (almost like a magazine interview where the majority of the information that we gain is directly from the profiled figure). With workers who dedicate so much of who they are to helping keep America running, I would have liked a more formal and approachable tone.The concept is neat, but the voice is lacking.

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