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Blue-Collar Journal: A College President's Sabbatical Hardcover – April 1, 1974

ISBN-13: 978-0397010301 ISBN-10: 0397010303 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1st edition (April 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0397010303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0397010301
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,016,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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I found it to be very readable and interesting.
George J. Ginovsky Jr.
The author works several blue collar jobs and writes about them; however, he is not connected to the businesses where he works.
carolina38
When he leaves, one of them says "I knew you were too good to last."
R. E. Statham

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By a reader VINE VOICE on September 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This was a fascinating account of a college president using his sabbatical (in 1974) to try out various blue collar jobs such as a ditch digger, a salad man in a kitchen at The Oyster House, and a garbage collector. Unlike Barbara Erenriech he has a basic respect for workers at all levels and we get to know the satisfactions as well as the drawbacks of the jobs, and some of the people who do them, mostly well, sometimes badly. He has opinions, well expressed, but he doesn't have an ax to grind. And the prices & salaries 35 years ago will give you pause.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. E. Statham on August 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first got interested in this book based upon the TV movie they made based on the story. A Pennsylvania college president, President of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, who doffs his suit, wingtips and finery, picks up a shovel and digs ditches in Atlanta-- just to see if he can live off of his own working man's wages.

His boss, the people he works with every day (winners and losers) and the descriptions of finding work, doing work, collecting paychecks, his worries... it's all there. Does he tell any of them about his "other" life? Nope.

And then back to the college and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve, where he doesn't tell any of them that just a few days earlier he was getting dirt under his fingernails and building up callouses on his middle-aged hands. The musings of the contrast between setting monetary policy vs. the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter-- and yes, in even being able to find a job-- priceless.

Next job, Sandwich Chef at a well-know Boston restaurant-- but only after he spends several frantic days trying to find a job. His descriptions of working with the other members of the staff, the dishwashers, the middle-aged waitresses, the owner, the managers, none of whom know about his "other" life. When he leaves, one of them says "I knew you were too good to last."

And lastly, suburban Washington, DC garbage man. No trouble finding this job-- no one wants to be a garbage man! It's actually not particularly hard work, compared to ditch digging, but it certainly has it's own share of frustrations, especially in trying to work with worn-out old equipment, people who don't show up for work, and of course, customers who act as if he doesn't even exist.

It's a thoughtful book that's respectful of working men and women everywhere. I highly recommend you get a copy and keep it in your library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By carolina38 on June 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Very interesting book and concept....well before the "Undercover Boss" idea and show. The author works several blue collar jobs and writes about them; however, he is not connected to the businesses where he works.

I would like to hear more about his time on the jobs and less about his biography. I also would like to know what happened when the people he worked with found out about his "real job". I picked up a used copy, obviously, for about 5$. I think I had heard thise book mentioned on Tony Kornheiser's radio show, which is how I got it many years later.

This would be a good idea for another writer to do but I suspect it can't be done with all the red tape employers have to deal with now.
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