Book Review: Nobodies: 1 Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy Katie Ruhrwien LeTourneau University
2 John Bowe, author of Nobodies: Modern Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy said if he could sum up what his book was about it would be “we all seek control. Control equals power. Power corrupts. Corruption makes us blind, tyrannical, and desperate to justify our behavior” (268). He is writing about the slave trade happening in our own Land of the Free. He wants Americans to be aware of the slave trade and recognize that it is not only happening in other countries, but effects items we use in our everyday lives, like the clothes we wear and the food we eat. As he is an immersion reporter, he visits three different sites of slavery: Florida, Tulsa, and Saipan. The stories and facts in this book are all from people who experienced some aspect of the abuses he writes about, whether a victim, a lawyer, or just a witness to the heinous crimes. He is not satisfied with half truths, which seem to fly at him, especially from those who did the abusing he was talking about, he does his research well and I appreciated that while reading this book.
The reason Bowe visits these three locations is they all highlight different types of trafficking. The book starts in Florida, the stories are about farmers who are working in very poor conditions with little to no pay and lots of abuse. The food that the farers pick goes to all places, including the fast food chains we all eat at. One such example Bowe gave of these chains was Taco Bell. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers had successfully launched a boycott against Yum! Brands Inc. who owned Taco Bell for using food that was harvested un...
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...is subject to and I believe he did a good job.
One critique I do have with the book is that he seemed to give a lot of extra details that sometimes distracted from the story as a whole. I found some spots hard to read because he would go on a rant about a particular person and their personality instead of getting to the point. With that said, I believe he did a good job explaining how slavery impacts the American economy and he even gave some examples of how to resolve some issues, such as when he says that it would only cost “American households about fifty dollars a year to double the wages of poor Hispanic farm workers” (Bowe, 275). While this is only an answer to one problem, it does get us thinking about other things we could do to stop this horrible corruption. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about modern day slavery.
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