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James Bloodworth
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A compelling and ground-breaking piece of narrative journalism that gets right to the heart of divided Britain and its dysfunctional jobs climate.
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'A very discomforting book, no matter what your politics might be... very good' Sunday Times 'Potent, disturbing and revelatory' Evening Standard We all define ourselves by our profession. But what if our job was demeaning, poorly paid, and tedious? Cracking open Britain's divisions journalist James Bloodworth spends six months living and working across Britain, taking on the country's most gruelling jobs. He lives on the meagre proceeds and discovers the anxieties and hopes of those he encounters, including working-class British, young students striving to make ends meet, and Eastern European immigrants. From the Staffordshire Amazon warehouse to the taxi-cabs of Uber, Bloodworth narrates how traditional working-class communities have been decimated by the move to soulless service jobs with no security, advancement or satisfaction. This is a gripping examination of Brexit Britain, a divided nation which needs to understand the true reality of how other people live and work before it can heal.
 

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Good in partsReview by sa nagba imuru
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If James Bloodworth had set out with an open mind to investigate the world of manual labour, this would have been a better book. As it is he strives to paint the worst possible picture. He describes the Amazon centre as "sat on waste ground between the canal and the power station" when in fact it occupies part of a large, modern industrial estate, along with paragons such as JCB, built to boost the local economy. He's clearly never heard the word "associate" which is very common in industry, and generally seen as a positive term. He complains about the amount of walking involved but ignores the fact that a postman walks just as far, outside, with a heavy bag. He complains about poor nutrition - I'm not surprised, if he thinks it takes 30 minutes to cook broccoli - why not take a packed lunch, eat ceral for breakfast, have a ready meal for dinner? He doesn't even have the nous to take a water bottle to work (water cooler culture, eh?) He complains about monitoring but then tells us about Nirmal, a slacker who expects to be paid for slacking. And he ignores the glaring truth - these are low-paid jobs because they need zero skill. The only reason Amazon uses people here is that they're a bit cheaper than robots, which are often used for higher-value picking.
No, sadly, James doesn't understand the world of manual work. Just like Carole Cadwalladr, whose strikingly similar piece appeared in the Grauniad in 2013. I hope the poor man has recovered now. I'm sure the London air will have done him good. (Posted on 04/04/2018)

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Additional Info

ISBN 9781786490148
Publisher Atlantic Books
Format Hardback
Publication date 1 Mar 2018

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