JANESVILLE, UP CLOSE

Milwaukee Magazine - - Culture - – KRIS­TINE HANSEN

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.

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