“In a world of blue-collar victims, where logging chains seal forever
the doors of mills and factories from the Rust Belt to the Deep South,
Beth Macy’s award-winning look at one furniture maker’s refusal to give
in is a breath of hope—and a damn fine story to read. The book tracks
John Bassett’s fight to keep American jobs on this side of borders and
oceans, and keeps one American town from becoming a place of empty
storefronts and FOR SALE signs.”
Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
In a class with other runaway debuts like Laura Hillenbrand's "Seabiscuit" and Katherine Boo's "Behind the Beautiful Forevers": These nonfiction narratives are more stirring and dramatic than most novels. And Ms. Macy writes so vigorously that she hooks you instantly. You won't be putting this book down.
Janet Maslin, New York Times
Beth Macy sees twists and subtleties that other journalists can't see, and she writes about the world around her with grit, honesty and remarkable grace. She has a police detective's diligence and determination, a poet's way with words, and a born storyteller's gift for spot-on narrative.
Martin Clark, author of The Legal Limit
Spirited, meticulously researched and well-written.... A page-turning tale that covers the company's history, family squabbles and the black-sheep son who rescued the company through pluck, persistence and political wrangling.
Margaret Jaworski, Success Magazine
I've been reading Beth Macy for years. She is a great American writer. She sees everything, all the precious detail. A few years back, as the world was collapsing around us, she did a story on the temp who was answering phones at a hotline for those in financial hot water. The temp was this immense hero in all these ways that nobody else would have ever recognized. Of course, Macy never called her a hero. She just let the story do the work.
Roland Lazenby, author of Michael Jordan
John Bassett's story has everything. An extraordinary dynasty, a relevant and inspiring message, and one of the best heroes I've read about in years. It works on every level, from the most personal betrayal to the realities of the global economy, from the struggle of one worker in a small Appalachian town to the future of our cultural as a whole. Part of me wishes I'd found John Bassett III, because this is powerful stuff, but it's obvious the story is in excellent hands with Beth Macy. Sometimes the right writer comes along with the right story at the right time. This is clearly that book.
Bret Witter, author of Dewey and Until Tuesday
In a compelling and meticulously researched narrative, Macy follows the story from the Blue Ridge Mountains to China and Indonesia, chronicling [John] Bassett's tireless work to revive his company, and with it, an American town.
Garden & Gun
It's a must-read just for its look at what happens at home when we send jobs overseas and how we all play a role. This one is a page-turner.
A triumph.... Get Factory Man and take your time with it. It's a big ol' delicious toasted sandwich of a book.
Kurt Rheinheimer, The Roanoker
In a world of blue-collar victims, where logging chains seal forever the doors of mills and factories from the Rust Belt to the Deep South, Beth Macy's award-winning look at one furniture maker's refusal to give in is a breath of hope-and a damn fine story to read. The book tracks John Bassett's fight to keep American jobs on this side of borders and oceans, and keeps one American town from becoming a place of empty storefronts and FOR SALE signs.
Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Most They Ever Had
Beth Macy has done a masterful job in personalizing the biggest American economic story of our time--how to save American jobs in the 21st Century. John Bassett III is a cinematic figure and quintessential American, battling for his company, his town and his country.
Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies
The author's brightly written, richly detailed narrative not only illuminates globalization and the issue of offshoring, but succeeds brilliantly in conveying the human costs borne by low-income people displaced from a way of life.... A masterly feat of reporting.
Kirkus (starred review)
Macy's down-to-earth writing style and abundance of personal stories from manufacturing's beleaguered front lines make her work a stirring critique of globalization.
Carl Hays, Booklist
Macy's riveting narrative is rich in local color.... Vivid reporting.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The unlikely hero of Factory Man is a determined, ornery, and absolutely indomitable...business man. He's the head of a family furniture company and damned if he's going to be pushed around. Beth Macy has given us an inspiring and engaging tale for our times, but not the expected one.
Alex Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Losing the News: The Future of the News that Feeds Democracy, Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and Laurence M. Lombard Lecturer in the Press and Public Policy
The epic struggle of Virginia furniture manufacturer John Bassett III (JBIII) to save his business has given crackerjack reporter Beth Macy the book she was born to write. Longtime champion of the downtrodden and the working American, Macy brings globalization down to a human scale, giving a real voice and a recognizable face to everyone involved, from factory worker to government official to Chinese importer. Thorough reporting and brilliant writing combine to make FACTORY MAN an exciting, fast-paced account of a quintessentially American story that affects us all.
Lee Smith, author of Guests on Earth
“John Bassett’s story has everything. An extraordinary dynasty, a
relevant and inspiring message, and one of the best heroes I’ve read
about in years. It works on every level, from the most personal betrayal
to the realities of the global economy, from the struggle of one worker
in a small Appalachian town to the future of our cultural as a whole.
Part of me wishes I’d found John Bassett III, because this is powerful
stuff, but it’s obvious the story is in excellent hands with Beth Macy.
Sometimes the right writer comes along with the right story at the right
time. This is clearly that book.”
Bret Witter, New York Times bestselling author
“[Macy] has found a terrifically rich subject for her
investigative reporting…They give out awards for this kind of thing.”
New York Times
“Macy’s riveting narrative is rich in local color…Vivid reporting.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A masterly feat of reporting.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Macy, herself the daughter of an assembly-line worker, offers a
well-researched title that reads like a novel, with plenty of juicy
characters and dialog.”
“Journalist Macy, whose reporting often champions
underdogs and outsiders, tells the inspiring story here of the crusty
septuagenarian’s fight to save his company and employees’ livelihoods,
using legal tactics and business savvy…Macy’s down-to-earth
writing style and abundance of personal stories from manufacturing’s
beleaguered front lines make her work a stirring critique of
“Kristin Kalbli’s pleasant narration guides the listener through the ins and outs of the Bassetts’ story—family history in the first half of the work segues into John Bassett III’s attempt to fight offshoring and save jobs in the struggling Blue Ridge Mountain region. Kalbli’s use of accents to portray Bassett family members and other locals helps to set the scene. She sensitively depicts the plight of displaced workers as well as ‘JBIII’s’ determination to preserve the local way of life.”
“A truly remarkable work of researched narrative nonfiction…Factory Man does justice to every hidden
corner of the story. It’s a book that leaves you feeling better for having read