From the first line (“At 7:07 a.m., the last Tahoe reaches the end of the assembly line.”), Janesville: An American Story (by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post staff writer Amy Goldstein) reads like a novel, unspooling the effects of the Janesville GM Assembly Plant closure in 2008. There’s the job-center director, union guys, Paul Ryan and teen daughters of laid-off workers as colorful – and real – characters.
What inspired you about the people of Janesville?
Goldstein: Since thousands of jobs vanished from town, workers and community leaders have been resourceful. Many who’d thought their GM jobs would last until retirement will never get back to $28 an hour, but they are trying hard.
What do most people not know about Paul Ryan?
Goldstein: He has called running for vice president in 2012 “kind of like you get stuffed into a cannon and shot out into the country.” His favorite supper club is the Buckhorn in Milton.