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Publisher's Summary

"Kelly Pekar narrates the audiobook with a clear and no-nonsense manner, perfectly embodying Goldbach’s own narrative voice on the page." (BookRiot)

This program includes a bonus conversation with the author.

A young woman's debut memoir of grit and tenacity, as she returns to the conservative hometown she always longed to escape to earn a living in the steel mill that casts a shadow over Cleveland.

Steel is the only thing that shines in the belly of the mill...To ArcelorMittal Steel Eliese is known as #6691: Utility Worker, but this was never her dream. Fresh out of college, eager to leave behind her conservative hometown and come to terms with her Christian roots, Eliese found herself applying for a job at the local steel mill. The mill is everything she was trying to escape, but it's also her only shot at financial security in an economically devastated and forgotten part of America. 

In Rust, Eliese brings the listener inside the belly of the mill and the middle American upbringing that brought her there in the first place. She takes a long and intimate look at her Rust Belt childhood and struggles to reconcile her desire to leave without turning her back on the people she's come to love. The people she sees as the unsung backbone of our nation.

Faced with the financial promise of a steelworker’s paycheck, and the very real danger of working in an environment where a steel coil could crush you at any moment or a vat of molten iron could explode because of a single drop of water, Eliese finds unexpected warmth and camaraderie among the gruff men she labors beside each day.

Appealing to listeners of Hillbilly Elegy and Educated, Rust is a story of the humanity Eliese discovers in the most unlikely and hellish of places, and the hope that therefore begins to grow. 

An NPR Best Book of the Year - 2020

A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books

"Rust has elements of Tara Westover’s Educated...The mill comes to represent something holy to [Eliese] because it is made not of steel but of people." (New York Times Book Review)

©2020 Eliese Colette Goldbach (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Rust is at once a unique memoir and a broad indictment of America's broken promise that anyone who came of age in the 21st century will find painfully familiar." (Sarah Kendzior, New York Times best-selling author of The View from Flyover Country)

"Rust is a memoir of steel and grit, yes, but soul above all, a young Cleveland millworker’s eloquent tale of hard times that plants its boots squarely on the bookshelf of American working-class literature." (David Giffels, author of Barnstorming Ohio: To Understand America and The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt

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What listeners say about Rust

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Real Steel

A story that hits all the emotions. An overcoming journey through life. Finding strength in labor and union solidarity.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic!

Excellent writing and voice acting! I was so hooked, I listened to the whole thing in 2 days.

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A peek Inside…🏭

As a fellow Ohioan, I was drawn to this book after hearing an interview on my local NPR station, here in Columbus,OH.

This book not only provides a peek inside of a world that many of us will never experience; but also shows what it’s like to live/ manage severe mental illness.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to seeing more work by this author.

*Kudos to the narrator for really bringing the text to life. As a fellow (albeit novice) voice-over artist, IMHO I think you did a great job!

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How Eliese Conquers a Steel Mill and Her Demons

When Eliese was growing up in Cleveland, a ride along 71 brought both fascination with and fear of the constant flame and smell emanating from the Steel Mill in the Flats. As I also experienced this as a child, I was able to relate to these feelings. (Eliese, decades younger than I, was fortunate to miss the stronger smell of the mill's heyday. )

Despite learning that one could become whatever one wanted by working toward one's goal, Eliese could not, even with her education, move forward. Good, reliable full time jobs with benefits were not easy to find. But after running into an old friend she learns that a steel mill might hold her future. A steady job, benefits, and excellent pay was possible in a world she had never considered.

RUST follows Eliese as she is trained, spends months as a rookie, and finally becomes a full fledged union worker in the mill with all the challenges, dangers, and preconceived notions one would expect. Her explanations of many aspects of a steel mill and how different jobs are approached was interesting, and her description of the people is wonderful.

However there is a dark side to the author's life, and it's tough to listen to. Between a traumatic event no one should experience, and mixed bipolar disorder her life holds many trials.

I must say this book was not what I expected, and I truly recommend it highly, not so much for the steel mill, despite my interest, but for the interweaving of her life issues into the life of the mill.

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Not my cup of tea

Bad. Weird story not worth telling. I wish I would not have purchased. One of the worst books I’ve purchased.

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Excellent! Fascinating, yet completely relatable.

It was like being right there in the steel mill. Brilliant narration, enjoyable voice. Memorable.