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Janesville Audiobook

Janesville: An American Story

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2017 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award!

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 listener deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job retrainers to show why it's so hard in the 21st century to re-create a healthy, prosperous working class.

For this is not just a Janesville story or a Midwestern story. It's an American story.

©2017 Amy Goldstein (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Flink 11/11/2017
    Flink 11/11/2017 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    47
    26
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    FOLLOWING
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting and humanizing"

    Gives names and faces to the residents of towns where major employers stop operations. Very interesting. Wish we could have gotten a better understanding of rescue relations between Janesville and the other town that made up the Rock 5.0. But, that's a small gripe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Rick Wilson
    18/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Human Portrayal of the Recession"

    I thought Amy Goldstein did a fantastic job of showing the human side of political policy and corporate decisions. The stories she told were emotional and often very moving.

    Joy Osmanski did a great job narrating.

    While I may disagree on a political level with the conclusions reached in this book, I am happy that I listened to it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • DJW
    North Carolina, USA
    06/02/18
    Overall
    "Wow! Just wow!"

    What an amazing depiction of this American jewel called Janesville. I just couldn't stop listening, so engrossing was this true tale of fortune and misfortune, invention and reinvention . . . and we know the story is ongoing. Amy Goldstein does an exquisite job of portraying the impact of the G.M. plant closing individuals as well as on the community. By the time she's through, we feel like we know many of these individuals personally. Warning: parts of this story were so difficult, so sad, that I literally cried. I had regain my composure before continuing. Alternately, parts were so inspiring as to reaffirm my faith in mankind. If you're looking for a compelling, this is it!

    Lastly, I would be remiss to omit the fact that Ms. Goldstein 's writing ability is formidable. Take this turn of phrase for example: "Pulling on this skein of worry . . . " When I read these words, I saw yarn - warm and wooly, tangled and unmanageable. I imagined a labyrinth of frustration and confusion. I even felt itchy and uncomfortable. Outstanding work, Ms. Goldstein! Bravo!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • KathrynVB
    Chicago, IL USA
    20/01/18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The definitive story of losing blue collar jobs"

    Excellent reporting about the effect of plant closings on a proud blue collar community. I waited for news of a turnaround, but perhaps it will take much longer than the nine years covered in this book. Heartbreaking stories of personal loss when families must deal with job instability, the need for assistance, and disappearing opportunities.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lora Lebo
    11/01/18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Such a great read!"

    As I read the stories which were woven together to create a picture of the town, I couldn’t help but think about the impact the “Great Recession” had on all of us, beneath the surface. The trickle-down effects of a plant closing are ripples that reach out for decades. It put my own town of Lebanon PA in a new frame for me, having suffered the closing of the Bethlehem Steel plant in the mid-1980’s.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mats
    Strangnas, Sweden
    07/01/18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "gripping"

    independent of your political views an important message and story. I am market libertarian so symphatize w Paul Ryan but that does not make me feel less concerned with the hardships till. Listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • lou
    new jersey
    05/01/18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Could not wait for this to end..."

    Was hopeful that I would get an insight to blue collar middle Americana. Instead heard a story that drones on way too long about a town that fell on hard times with the Great Recession. Sad but predictable and feels like it’s looking for a scapegoat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anonymous
    03/01/18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Impressive and accessible tale of two Janesville's"

    As a resident of Janesville, a social worker, and board member of 2 organizations mentioned in the book, I found this book engaging, accessible, and based in the reality of circumstances in Janesville. I appreciate that this author told this story and would recommend it for anyone trying to understand some of the angst in white, workingclass America. The book alao discusses practical policy solutions when we make smart choices about the structural causes of poverty.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mary
    Dedham, MA, United States
    31/12/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Everyone should read this book no matter your political persuasion."

    Moving vignettes, what happens when a factory goes belly up and promises aren't at all enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • superbobhere
    04/12/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A different perspective "

    I was draw to this book by its FT Award. Living in New England and the world described in this book has brought me a very different perspective. Great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Yaroslav Osadchiy
    28/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good book but no key idea"

    It’s a nice book, well written with deep prior research on the peoples stories but I do not see key ideas or what author wanted to say with it. My inference from the book is that whatever you do or how hard you work you might be in deep troubles. It sounds like an advice not to do much and just accept your faith.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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