Hidden America

“Thoroughly Entertaining. Enormously Affecting.”PUBLISHERS WEEKLY STARRED REVIEW

 

Producer/Director: Anita Harnish

 

 

 

Hidden America
From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work

Reviews | Sneak a PEEK

Five hundred feet underground, Jeanne Marie Laskas asked a coal miner named Smitty, “Do you think it’s weird that people know so little about you?” He replied, “I don’t think people know too much about the way the whole damn country works.”

Hidden America intends to fix that. Like John McPhee and Susan Orlean, Laskas dives deep into her subjects and emerges with character-driven narratives that are gripping, funny, and revelatory. In Hidden America, the stories are about the people who make our lives run every day—and yet we barely think of them.

Laskas spent weeks in an Ohio coal mine and on an Alaskan oil rig; in a Maine migrant labor camp, a Texas beef ranch, the air traffic control tower at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, a California landfill, an Arizona gun shop, the cab of a long-haul truck in Iowa, and the stadium of the Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleaders. Cheerleaders? Yes. They, too, are hidden America, and you will be amazed by what Laskas tells you about them: hidden no longer.

Reviews

“In this thoroughly entertaining study of what some people do that other people would never do, journalist Laskas makes her subjects sing…Laskas’s depictions are sharply delineated, fully fleshed, and enormously affecting.”
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY STARRED REVIEW

“Oprah Must-Read Best Book”
O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE

“Jeanne Marie Laskas is a reporting and writing powerhouse. She doesn’t just interview the people who dig our coal and extract our oil, she goes deep into the mines and tundra with them. She goes to work nationwide to find the hidden soul of America, the people we depend on most but know the least. Along the way, she reminds us that it’s not what makes our lives function smoothly, but who, how, and at what cost. With beauty, wit, curiosity, and grace, Laskas tells the story of the United States from deep inside the machinery that makes it work. Hidden America is essential reading for anyone who’s ever turned on a light, started a car, thrown away trash, flown on a plane, or eaten a vegetable.”
—REBECCA SKLOOT, Author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

“Her attention to detail is vivid. Laskas gives voice—as well as dignity and poetry—to America’s blue-collar ranks.”
BOOKPAGE

“Hearing these voices, it’s impossible not to see the world a little differently.”
THE DAILY BEAST, Hot Read

“Each of these profiles rings true, offering an enlightening, entertaining and often poignant glimpse into occupations that most of us know little about.”
HUFFINGTON POST

“Jeanne Marie Laskas has spent years finding and listening to the people we can’t do without, but sometimes forget are there. She went into the mines with miners, rode the range with the cowboys, talked with air traffic controllers, and went on the road with truckers. What they told her is at once heart-warming, funny, sad, ironic, and, most of all, insightful. She is a wonderful listener who gives us new and better perspective on what keeps America working. A fine piece of reporting and writing – a ride well worth taking.”
—BOB SCHIEFFER

“A wondrous book, fierce and intimate in its investigations. Laskas writes smart and funny, and it is like Studs Terkel if he wrote novels and Tom Wolfe if he wrote about working folk.”
—ROB CARLSON, author of Five Skies and The Signal

“Laskas is a brilliant writer who also happens to be the owner of one of the wisest, most compelling voices in American journalism. How lucky we are to get to hitch a ride with her on this incredible road trip.”
—SUSAN CONLEY, author of The Foremost Good Fortune

“It’s not a stretch to use the name Studs Terkel in the same sentence with the name Jeanne Marie Laskas. She’s one hell of a journalist, a world-class storyteller who takes us where we may not want to go, then makes us grateful we took the trip. She gives voice to the voiceless and names to the nameless, and it still comes out reading like a novel. Hidden America is not just a good read, it’s an important one.”
—LINDA ELLERBEE

Hidden America is a literary miracle. In effortlessly lucid prose, Jeanne Marie Laskas tells stories that spellbind precisely because they remind us of the center that quietly holds America together. You will fall in love with, want to have a beer with, and maybe shed a tear for, her entire cast of obscure heroes.”
—ROBERT DRAPER, Author of Do Not Ask What Good We Do and Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush

“Jeanne Marie Laskas has for years taken her readers inside the lives of ordinary people with her intimate, insightful journalism. Hidden America is a finely crafted look behind the curtains of everyday life – think Dirty Jobs for the literate set.”
—MIKE SAGER, Author of Wounded Warriors

“At a time when American workers seem most prized for their ability to serve as campaign props, “Hidden America” comes as a breath of fresh air with no political slant, no hidden motive. Both presidential campaigns could learn a great deal by reading “Hidden America.” In fact, we all could.”
POST-GAZETTE.COM