INVISIBLE HANDS by Corinne Goria


Voices from the Global Economy
edited by
Email this review


A compelling message about the plight of labor workers worldwide.

In association with Voice of Witness, which spotlights global human rights crises, San Diego lawyer Goria assembles a series of eye-opening interviews by people hidden in the trenches of manual labor, a flourishing trade eclipsed by workplace grievances and global economic stratification. This unique compilation of histories demands attention and collectively has the impetus to inspire change. The range of these verbatim testimonies extends throughout the textile, agricultural, nonrenewable “resource extraction” and electronics industries, representing a wide swath of men and women spanning nearly a dozen countries. Among the diverse, impassioned voices are a Mexican garment worker who speaks out for those who are “denied work for fighting for one’s rights”; a Northern California vineyard worker with heart problems who toiled through a rigidly structured “grape season”; a California military brat–cum–borax miner braving harsh, treacherous conditions and fierce union contract negotiations; and a Chinese factory worker in Shenzhen, reluctantly employed at one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers amid suicides and militant working conditions. Hope for change comes in various forms throughout Goria’s collection, including the strides made by Bangladesh worker Kalpona Akter, who, after years working in a textile mill, became a staunch activist and labor rights advocate. Their common trait, aside from a laborious livelihood, is a marked desire to initiate a movement to bar unreasonable and perilous working conditions and unfair wages. Goria dramatically acknowledges the legion of overlooked workers who “produce the things we use every day,” expressed through the carefully chosen words of crusaders who share each other’s individual hopes and hardships.

Powerful and revealing testimony to the injustices of manual labor, infused with inspiration for global change.

Pub Date: May 6th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-938073-90-8
Page count: 364pp
Publisher: McSweeney's/Voice of Witness
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2014


NonfictionSTEALTH OF NATIONS by Robert Neuwirth
by Robert Neuwirth
NonfictionPALESTINE SPEAKS by Mateo Hoke
by Mateo Hoke