You Had a Job for Life: Story of a Company Town
Jamie SayenPaper: $24.95
If you’re looking for an anti-corporate screed or a rose-colored-glasses view of small-town life, You Had a Job for Life is not for you. But if you’re interested in a multi-faceted look at an important aspect of New Hampshire’s personality, shown through the people who lived it, and reported at unusual depth, you might want to give it a shot.
You had a Job For Life, an oral history of the destruction of a mill town, details the life and death of the Groveton Papers Mill. But Jamie Sayen’s book could easily have been about Berlin and other paper towns that saw their economies collapse when foreign competition and shrinking markets closed paper mills across the country. The stories are hauntingly similar. Thirty miles west of Berlin, Groveton shared a workforce and for a period, common ownership, with the mills in the Androscoggin Valley.
—Berlin Daily Sun
It includes labor disputes and the women’s struggle for equal pay, the financial machinations that passed ownership through multiple hands over its century in operation, and the bare hands of workers building it all from the ground up. It is all so vivid you can almost smell the sulfur on their skins.
[A] heartbreaking history.
—The Wall Street Journal
Colorful and memorable. . . . Recommended.
JAMIE SAYEN is a writer and environmental activist living in New Hampshire. He is the author of Einstein in America: The Scientist’s Conscience in the Age of Hitler and Hiroshima.