The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland

Dan Barry. HarperCollins, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-237213-0
New York Times columnist Barry (Bottom of the 33rd) weaves a moving tale of how a group of 32 mentally disabled men from Texas were rescued in 2009 after decades of servitude. Through a state program, the men were first put to work in the 1960s at a turkey processing plant in Texas. Then, in 1974, they were moved to another plant in Atalissa, Iowa. There, they lived in an abandoned schoolhouse and eviscerated turkeys in return for room, board, and (low) wages. Over the years, the outside world changed, but theirs did not. They became more isolated from the local community, worked ceaselessly, and were neglected and abused. Only through the efforts of dedicated people, including Iowa state social worker Natalie Neel-McGlaughlin, Des Moines investigative journalist Clark Kauffman, and Texas labor lawyer Robert Canino, were the men eventually able to leave. Their stories, pieced together through extensive research and interviews, are both riveting and often difficult to read, though Barry tries to end on a positive note. Still, his descriptions of overdue reunions and the list recounting “where they are now” is a bleak testament to what happened to 32 men over decades of neglect. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-3565-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-256115-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-3564-3
Hardcover - 511 pages - 978-1-4104-9309-5
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-237215-4
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-06-237214-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5047-3566-7
Show other formats
Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
Discover what to read next