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Perusing the vegetables at the local grocery store may no longer be an automatic exercise after reading Daniel Rothenberg’s new book, With These Hands: The Hidden World of Migrant Farmworkers Today (Harcourt, Brace & Company). Rothenberg, AM’93, humanizes America’s produce harvesters through interviews with migrant workers and their children, contractors, union organizers, doctors, and teachers. Framed by Rothenberg’s analyses, these narratives describe a world where contractors, as one says, feel that “breaking the law is the only way you can make decent money.” Often, Rothenberg argues, the migrant workers are victims in the hostile underground harvest economy.

The workers—many of whom are illegal aliens and aren’t protected by U.S. labor laws—speak of nights spent in chicken coops, working in pesticide-soaked fields, and even enslavement at the hands of unscrupulous employers. Championing vulnerable migrant workers, With These Hands chronicles an invisible class frequently overlooked by those who reap the benefits of their harvest.—M.D.B.

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