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

By Jeanne Marie Laskas

Toes underground, Jeanne Marie Laskas requested a coal miner named Smitty, “Do you think that it’s bizarre that folks understand so little approximately you?” He answered, “I don’t imagine humans be aware of an excessive amount of concerning the means the entire rattling state works.”

Hidden the USA intends to mend that. Like John McPhee and Susan Orlean, Laskas dives deep into her topics and emerges with character-driven narratives which are gripping, humorous, and revelatory. In Hidden the US, the tales are in regards to the those that make our lives run each day—and but we slightly consider them.

Laskas spent weeks in an Ohio coal mine and on an Alaskan oil rig; in a Maine migrant hard work camp, a Texas pork ranch, the air site visitors keep an eye on tower at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, a California landfill, an Arizona gun store, the cab of a long-haul truck in Iowa, and the stadium of the Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleaders. Cheerleaders? certain. They, too, are hidden the United States, and you'll be surprised via what Laskas tells you approximately them: hidden not.

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He back takes out the knife he retains clipped to his belt, unfolds it, and scrapes that dust off. He reaches into the again of his truck, grabs his hat, the good-looking black felt one he brings out each one fall. He places the hat on his head, positions it low, walks tall, and listens to the light jingle of his spurs. during this manner, all dignity and magnificence and struggle, a cowboy enters Walmart on an October afternoon choked with steam, the best way of solar after rain. THE RIG Pioneer average assets Oil Rig Oooguruk Island, off the shorelines of Alaska’s North Slope TooDogs is at the run. “Catch me later,” he’ll say whenever I procedure, after which he disappears for an afternoon. There aren't loads of areas to conceal. this can be a six-acre island, 250 miles above the Arctic Circle, a number of miles off the shore of Alaska within the Beaufort Sea—nothing yet white ice, ghostly steam, chilly metal. The temperature outdoors is 38 levels under 0, and now the wind is kicking up. “Hey! ” I say, discovering TooDogs upstairs within the camp smoke room, the place he’s leaning, peering out a window. outdoors, snow blows horizontally, a curtain of climate obscuring his rig, Nabors 19AC, status tall at the different facet of the island, a couple of part a soccer box away, lit up within the darkness. It’s a royal-blue and yellow tower, systems and blocks of equipment stacked excessive over the outlet the place the drill enters the sea flooring. TooDogs, the “toolpusher,” equipped the rig. A toolpusher is a man who builds a rig, runs the drilling operation. I’m no longer but definite how he earned the rig identify TooDogs. a few say it’s simply because he can get as offended as canine battling; a few say it’s simply because he’s half Blackfeet Indian and there’s an previous shaggy dog story a few boy of comparable foundation named “Two canine Fucking. ” (He spells it TooDogs, no longer TwoDogs, simply because, he says, “that appears like shit. ”) Not every person the following has a rig identify. Having a rig identify is neither an indication of notoriety nor toughness nor recognize. a few men, like Turtle and Kung Fu and mind and TooDogs, are easily destined. “You pay attention that? ” TooDogs says, leaning his head towards the window. “Brrr. Brrr. That’s torque. ” He’s a burly man, a Weeble that wobbles yet won’t crumple, initially look type of a a dead ringer for such a lot of others the following: mustache, wire-rimmed glasses, cap, Carhartt coveralls, bed room slippers. approximately 90 humans dwell out the following at the ice, approximately all males, a few of whom wander round of their pajamas, considering that it’s a twenty-four-hour operation and perhaps they’re simply coming out in their rooms to sweep their the teeth. No boots are allowed within camp, a comfortable set of frozen trailers retaining wonderful warmth, and clean nutrients that’s trucked in over the ice roads as soon as every week, and beds to a room, and stalls of unpolluted showers. “You understand what time is for? ” TooDogs asks me. “What it’s for? ” I ask. “It’s to maintain every thing from taking place all at once,” he says. i glance at him, nod courteously. He drags demanding on his cigarette. “Can you think the choice? ” he says, and for the 1st time I detect that his eyes are a deep metal blue, there's a white scar snaking among them, and the announcing on his cap reads: HUNT challenging .

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