Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line

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9780446394000: Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line

The man the Detroit Free Press calls "a blue collar Tom Wolfe" delivers a full-barreled blast of truth and gritty reality in Rivethead, a no-holds-barred journey through the belly of the American industrial beast.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Based on his ``Rivethead'' column that has appeared in Midwest newspapers as well as in Mother Jones, here is Hamper's tortured description of his wretched career as a General Motors worker in the factories of Flint, Michigan. A fourth generation ``shoprat'' (one uncle spent 45 years at the Buick Engine Plant), Hamper explains how an irresponsible father, numerous siblings, and his own penchant for laziness, drugs, and taverns pointed directly to a future in the plants, despite his inclinations toward poetry and music. In 1977, he reluctantly began work in the cab shop (a place with a noise level ``like some hideous unrelenting tape loop of trains having sex''). Ranging from this experience to his retirement ten years later, Hamper writes of the drudgery of factory labor; repeated layoffs and call-backs; extensive on-the-job alcohol and drug consumption by himself and fellow workers; ongoing battles with foremen and supervisors; and his quest, similar to that of his mentor, Michael Moore, director of Roger and Me, to go bowling with GM chairman Roger Smith. His ``Rivethead'' series hardly endeared him to management, nor did his often obnoxious behavior. In 1986, at about the time his column first appeared in Mother Jones, he began to experience ``severe panic disorder,'' or anxiety attacks, and has spent the past few years in and out of a mental-health clinic. Although perceptively critical of American business management, practice, and values, Hamper nearsightedly finds little of worth or integrity in his fellow workers, and is downright offensive toward women, who, in his world, ``lust for summer sausage.'' Rivethead indeed. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

In a voice often as powerful as the riveting gun he wielded in the 1970s and '80s in a Flint, Mich., General Motors assembly plant, Hamper nails down the excruciating boredom of a shoprat's life on the line. These roughly chronological essays, many published in the local press, bare the rage and humor that, with booze and drugs, friendships and enmities, served to speed along the timeclock's "suffocating minute hand." A fourth-generation factory worker, raised on hard music, hard liquor and soft drugs, given a parochial school education, Hamper was the eldest of eight children deserted by their father, supported by their mother. He was determined not to be an auto worker but soon after high school, married and a father, he needed the steady work GM offered. With free-ranging intelligence and a sharply anarchic sensibility, he tries to figure out and establish some control over his place in GM's massive corporate system. While these essays might best satisfy in small doses, Hamper, no longer a GM employee, writes with unrelenting energy. BOMC and QPB selections; film rights to Warner Bros.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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