American Made Blurbs & Reviews

“At last, an elegy for the working class that doesn’t skate on limpid stereotypes about laziness or lack of thrift. Farah Stockman did not just parachute into the lives of displaced steelworkers in Indiana for her debut narrative masterpiece. She stayed, and then stayed some more. American Made is THE STORY about how the rich screwed the working class while the rest of us yawned from our cushy bubbles. With humor, breathtaking honesty, and a historian’s satellite view, Stockman illuminates the fault lines ripping America apart.”

— Beth Macy, author of Factory Man and Dopesick


“Farah Stockman’s respect for hard-working people is why they have given her access into their world, with all of its defeats and conquests. Her thoughtfulness as a writer is why we’re invited into their hearts, where dreams still simmer. Reading American Made is to understand the strength and courage it takes to forge a life in a world too many want to pretend does not exist. An extraordinary tribute to the rest of America.”

—Connie Schultz, author of …and His Lovely Wife and The Daughters of Erietown


“The task of 21st-century capitalism is to find a model that combines growth and innovation with ways to protect people from the painful shifts these forces so often bring. “American Made” is a reminder that this search continues.”

—Richard Davies, The New York Times


“Stockman shows the shattering effects of globalization on the unskilled workers sometimes called “the precariat” for the precariousness of their jobs… this book gives a valuable account of the many things work means to Americans.”

Kirkus Reviews


“Pulitzer winner Stockman debuts with a vivid and empathetic examination of “what jobs mean to people.” She centers the narrative on three former employees of the Rexnord bearing plant in Indianapolis, Ind., which announced in 2016 that it would close its doors and move production to Mexico and Texas. Shannon Mulcahy, who had been one of the first female steelworkers at Rexnord, credits the job with helping her escape an abusive marriage and support her multigenerational family. Since the plant’s closure in 2017, she’s struggled to find work that will provide the same benefits and sense of pride. Wally Hall sees the plant’s closure as the spur he needs to try to launch his own barbecue business, while union leader John Feltner has harsh words for coworkers who agreed to train their Mexican replacements for a $4 per hour bonus. Stockman contextualizes developments in her protagonists’ lives with lucid discussions of globalization, immigration, and the rise of the service economy, and casts events against the backdrop of America’s recent political turmoils, noting that Donald Trump’s harsh criticism of Rexnord’s closure earned him supporters among the plant’s workers. Throughout, Stockman interrogates her own political and cultural assumptions, and draws vibrant profiles of her three main subjects and their colleagues. The result is an intimate and captivating study of the forces dividing America.”

Publisher’s Weekly, starred review


“AMERICAN MADE by Farah Stockman is a very good book, and in some ways, is exactly what the book jacket says it is: a serious and thoughtful look at what happens to people when they lose their jobs.”

Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts

“While the book is centered on John, Wally and Shannon, its themes are far broader than one plant’s closing, ranging from the union movement to the manufacturing economy to trade deals and globalization. Stockman notes that NAFTA resulted in a net loss of American jobs, and the “greatest job losses were blue-collar workers,” resulting in the anger that led many of those workers to vote for Trump after he promised to save their jobs.
Stockman’s insights into race, class and education include acknowledging her own privilege, as the “child of two Ph.D.s” who is “among the tiny number of black people to make it into Harvard.”
“This willingness to self-interrogate is one of the book’s many strengths, as is Stockman’s ability to really capture the humanity of her sources, to understand lives different from her own. Above all, the book argues, it’s the humanity of workers that suffers when jobs go away. As the economy continues to reward those at the top and punish those below, she writes, people’s entire communities suffer, from household to household; “the less stable the job prospects, the more fragile the family.”


“An Indiana steel plant closed in 2017 and hundreds of jobs went to Mexico. NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to Farah Stockman about her book: American Made — What Happens to People when Work Disappears.”

Morning Edition, listen to the episode


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