A slow town wreck

Dr. Zach McKenney appreciates Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein, calling it "a harrowing account of the human consequences of plant shutdowns and the rippling effects that they have throughout affected communities."

In Janesville, Wisconsin, the nation’s oldest operating General Motors assembly plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession. With intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, Goldstein shows why it’s so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.

"Janesville is not so much an economic treatise on deindustrialization as it is a stunning ethnography of the tragedy and resiliency of a small Midwestern town," McKenney said.

McKenney is a lecturer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he received his doctorate in sociology with a concentration in political economy and globalization.

Music credit: "Blue Dot Sessions," CC BY-NC 4.0

About the Podcast

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Knox Pods
Podcasts of Knox County Public Library

About your hosts

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Melissa Brenneman

Melissa listens to hours of podcasts on most days. She started the habit with the intention of taking long walks, but podcasts proved to be more addicting than exercise. She records, edits and mixes podcasts for the library.
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Alan May

Alan May works as a reference librarian at Lawson McGhee Library. In his spare time, he reads and writes poetry. May's most recent books are Dead Letters (2008) and More Unknowns (2014). His poems have appeared in The New York Quarterly, The Hollins Critic, The New Orleans Review, Plume, and others.