ROCKY MOUNT, Va. — A WOMAN came up to the book-signing table at an event at my local library Monday night. She did not have a copy of the newly released paperback of “Factory Man,” my book about what happened when 300,000 American furniture-making jobs were offshored to Asia.
But she waited a half-hour in the signing line anyway, to introduce herself and to tell me she was one of the more than 550 people laid off in 2001 when Furniture Brands International closed its Lane Furniture plant in this former mill town.
She couldn’t afford the $17 book, she whispered, because she was doing housecleaning and other off-the-books, part-time work. (I offered to give her one, but her gainfully employed sister-in-law ended up buying her a copy before I could get to the box of books I keep in my car, for just such occasions.)
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