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Janesville

Cover of Janesville

Janesville

An American Story
A Washington Post reporter's intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors' assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin—Paul Ryan's hometown—and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class.
This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its factory stills—but it's not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next, when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up.

Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin where the nation's oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America's biggest political issues human. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers to show why it's so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.

For this is not just a Janesville story or a Midwestern story. It's an American story.
A Washington Post reporter's intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors' assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin—Paul Ryan's hometown—and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class.
This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its factory stills—but it's not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next, when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up.

Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin where the nation's oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America's biggest political issues human. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers to show why it's so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.

For this is not just a Janesville story or a Midwestern story. It's an American story.
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About the Author-
  • Amy Goldstein has been a staff writer for thirty years at The Washington Post, where much of her work has focused on social policy. Among her awards, she shared the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. She has been a fellow at Harvard University at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Janesville: An American Story is her first book. She lives in Washington, DC.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Just before Christmas in 2008, General Motors shut down its Janesville, Wisconsin, assembly plant. Amy Goldstein tells the stories of those who were left to cope with joblessness, and those in its wake. Joy Osmanski reads the stories with passion. Listeners hear the emptiness of the once-bustling plant, and the anxiety of the workers who once made 28 dollars an hour. A woman dealing with a depressing job as a corrections officer, teens embarking on their futures, and GM "gypsies" who moved to another plant are among those who share their experiences. Civic efforts to help people rebuild their lives and bring in new jobs, as well as the efforts of House Speaker Paul Ryan to save his hometown's assembly plant, are also part of the story. J.A.S. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
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An American Story
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