Parsons Mill

Timothy Lewontin, Author University Press of New England $17.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-87451-479-7
When Lewontin answered an ad for a sawyer's apprentice, he was transported from a comfortable, middle-class existence to that of the blue-collar laborer. Parsons' was a ramshackle sawmill that made ash dowels for furniture and ladder rungs; for Lewontin, the workplace was a culture shock--his co-workers ignored him, and his employer, Henry Parsons, was a character out of Dickens. But he accepted the challenge to prove that he ``was capable of working long and hard at distasteful tasks for dubious reward.'' Lewontin presents a sharply detailed picture of the sawmill, its employees and their relationship to the irascible Mr. Parsons. It's an immensely entertaining story of psychological warfare on a personal level--with the boss, and among the workers. Lewontin shows us the machinery at the mill, how it is used and how workers adapt their rhythms to the machines. His close-up view of daily life at Parsons' Mill, located in an unidentified northern New England town, is a fine piece of Americana. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-452-26420-5
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