The good hand : a memoir of work, brotherhood, and transformation in an American boomtown / Michael Patrick F. Smith
Book | Viking | 2021
4 holds on first copy returned of 7 copies

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458 pages ; 24 cm
"A vivid window into the world of working class men and the value of hard labor, set during the Bakken fracking boom in North Dakota. Shiftless and unsatisfied in his life, Michael Patrick Smith decided in his mid-thirties to seek out the hardest work he could find, to see if he could do it. He wanted to be a person, unlike his father, who knew how to work and get things done. He found himself in the oil fields of North Dakota during the Bakken fracking boom of 2013, where he spent a year as a swamper, assisting the truck drivers who hauled oil rigs from one site to another. The Good Hand is a saga of fear, danger, exhaustion, suffering, loneliness, and grit that explores the struggles and rewards of one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. In doing so, the story delves into the internal struggles of people who seem naturally drawn to hard work and hard luck--the rough-hewn, castoff, disposable men who populate boomtowns. As an oil field greenhorn, Smith finds the job is a continual battle; men are mocked and clobbered by equipment. But he comes to love the intensity and camaraderie, forming close bonds with a number of fellow workers, including Huck, an aw-shucks friendly young giant of a man who is constantly getting into trouble with the law, and "The Wildebeest," a truck driver in his fifties who initially torments Smith but later becomes instrumental in helping him to become "a good hand." Smith also examines his troubled relationship with his father--a trait that most of his coworkers seem to share--and draws fascinating parallels between his labor as an oil field hand and his previous careers in theatre and folk music. The Good Hand is ultimately a book about transformation--a classic American story about submitting to something elemental and larger than oneself. Smith discovers that the communities forged by hard work can awaken both the heart and the hands"-- Provided by publisher.
Other Form:
Online version: Smith, Michael Patrick F., The good hand [New York] : Viking, [2021] 9781984881526 (DLC) 2020022356
9781984881519 (hardcover)
1984881515 (hardcover)
9781984881526 (ebook)
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