• American Made

  • What Happens to People When Work Disappears
  • By: Farah Stockman
  • Narrated by: Farah Stockman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (76 ratings)

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American Made  By  cover art

American Made

By: Farah Stockman
Narrated by: Farah Stockman
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Publisher's Summary

What happens when Americans lose their jobs?  In American Made, an illuminating story of ruin and reinvention, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Farah Stockman gives an up-close look at the profound role work plays in our sense of identity and belonging, as she follows three workers whose lives unravel when the factory they have dedicated so much to closes down.

“With humor, breathtaking honesty, and a historian’s satellite view, American Made illuminates the fault lines ripping America apart.” (Beth Macy, author of Factory Man and Dopesick)

Shannon, Wally, and John built their lives around their place of work. Shannon, a white single mother, became the first woman to run the dangerous furnaces at the Rexnord manufacturing plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was proud of producing one of the world’s top brands of steel bearings. Wally, a black man known for his initiative and kindness, was promoted to chairman of efficiency, one of the most coveted posts on the factory floor, and dreamed of starting his own barbecue business one day. John, a white machine operator, came from a multigenerational union family and clashed with a work environment that was increasingly hostile to organized labor.

The Rexnord factory had served as one of the economic engines for the surrounding community. When it closed, hundreds of people lost their jobs. What had life been like for Shannon, Wally, and John, before the plant shut down? And what became of them after the jobs moved to Mexico and Texas?

American Made is the story of a community struggling to reinvent itself. It is also a story about race, class, and American values, and how jobs serve as a bedrock of people’s lives and drive powerful social justice movements. This revealing book shines a light on a crucial political moment, when joblessness and anxiety about the future of work have made themselves heard at a national level. Most of all, American Made is a story about people: who we consider to be one of us and how the dignity of work lies at the heart of who we are.

©2021 Farah Stockman (P)2021 Random House Audio

What listeners say about American Made

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Explains a lot!

I have been searching for books that will help me better understand the Trump phenomena and the divide that has arisen between "Coastal Elites"/Liberals and the working class. This book does it! By telling the stories of 3 laid-off factory workers, Farah Stockman captures the essence of the troubling dilemma our country is facing.

2 people found this helpful

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Work Matters....Full Stop.

I finished this book in a day and have been thinking about it ever since. I read the original piece in the NYT and was so thrilled to hear that Ms. Stockman followed up not only on Shannon's story, but we met two other gentleman with such compelling stories. I don't want to even compare this book to Hillbilly Elegy, because that book seemed fictional in so many ways, but this book....THIS book, really helped me to understand how so many working class Americans could vote for a con man like Trump. ALL politicians are con men to the folks working in these factories, at least for a lot of the workers anyway. I really came to understand that viewpoint on a deeper level.

But...that wasn't the biggest take-away....that was most certainly that we undervalue our manufacturing workers and that they don't want a check from the government....they want to be valued at their place of work. They seemed to want to collectively say....take your automation, robots and universal income and shove it! I just loved the detail and nuance that Ms. Stockman conveyed in this novel. Also, I wasn't sure if I'd love the author as narrator, but it was perfect. I felt that she really brought an extra something to the narration because she spent so much time with the people in the novel...she had a level of respect and understanding for them that really shone threw in her delivery. I have recommended this book to many friends....I hope others do the same!

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Must Read

This is the best book I’ve listened to in ages. It is so well written and you easily get to know and love the people. This is such a relevant and necessary topic especially in the current political climate.

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Great craftsmanship

Not only does she bring life to the characters, Farah also gives brilliant color to the time (social, political and economic).
The warmth and attachment to characters can be felt. EXCELLENT READ!

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Great book!

Thank you, Farah, for taking the time to get to know working class Americans and sharing their stories in such a dignified way. This book digs deeply into what happens to our country when jobs disappear- the unintended, unforeseen or uncaring consequences of government policies made by people who have never been in a working class situation.

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Eye opening and a wonderful read

Couldn’t stop listening. Truly opened my eyes. I am grateful for the journey of this book. I hope the majority of Americans read this book.

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An important read

One of the things we on the coasts like to believe is that the working class supported Donald Trump out of racism and resentment. This book shows how it was more out of desperation. It is hard to be poor in America, and while the liberalization of trade over the past 30 years has been a net benefit for the country and has increased economic growth, the people who paid the price are the people who lost good union jobs to foreign competition. They turned to Trump because they saw no other choice -- Republicans and Democrats alike had thrown them to the wolves. Of course in turning to Trump they bought his tissue of lies, and wound up supporting a person who just shoveled more money into the pockets of the rich, but the reason is still there and it needs to be understood. We also need a serious conversation about what our turn toward anti-unionism has done to fairness in America. Union jobs are good jobs, and we should be supporting politicians who want to help organize workers, not undermine them.

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Terrible take on the current state of America

In terms of actual writing the book is decent at best. It’s a extremely far left rendition of the trump presidency and current state of the USA. There is no rational points made and the authors takes are not logical as they contradict each other. I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy to read this book.

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Good story, too much politics

Overall, engaging story about a real issue in modern America. However, the author puts way too much of her personal politics into the book and way too much focus on Trump and not on the people she’s writing about.