A special offer: if you become a sustainer of our work for as little as $10/month, or make a one-time donation of $100 or more, we’ll send you a signed copy of our Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez’s new book when it is released this June.

The Work of Living: Working People Talk about Their Lives and the Year the World Broke, forthcoming from OR Books, brings together an incredible set of in-depth interviews with working people living and fighting their way through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There’s much that needs to be said about the pandemic that is still unfolding all around us. But one thing that Max powerfully reminds us is that we can’t forget—in all the talk of vaccines and mandates and variants—we need to remember that it is our fellow human beings that this pandemic history is happening to. As he writes in his introduction:

What can the history of such a world-shaking event be—how much can that history actually tell us and future generations—if it leaves no record of the kind of intimate experiences, stories, thoughts, feelings, memories, and impressions that make history human? How much can we actually under­stand what this pandemic was and all that it will mean for the carrying on of humanity if we relegate these things to the periphery of what’s historically important? […] This is why this book is built the way it is, why its conversations unfold the way they do—at times meandering, sometimes funny or philosophical, at other times punctured by pain and fear so deep that it hurts to read. This is also why the stories of every worker I spoke to for this book—from Kyle, a sheet metal worker in Kentucky, to Mx. Pucks, a burlesque performer and producer in Seattle, to Nick, a grave­digger in New Jersey—go way beyond the jobs they do for a living (though we talk about those, too). In the same way that I’ve tried from the very start of my podcast Working People to talk to workers not just about their jobs but about their lives—where they come from, what their families are like, what memo­ries they hold dear, what they think about thorny political questions—I have tried to approach every conversation I recorded for this book in a way that will make it impossible for reader to ignore the whole human being behind every name tag they see, the precious life behind all the “essential work” our lives depend on.

We hope you are as excited for Max’s book as we are. So remember—donate $100 or more, or become a sustainer for as little as $10/month, and not only will you get a signed copy delivered to your door when the book is released, you’ll help Max keep telling these kinds of essential stories of working people here at TRNN. 

“Maximillian Alvarez doesn’t just report; he listens like an organizer, and pulls the fundamental challenges of humanity from the people he interviews so that it’s never just about storytelling or setting a narrative. It’s about finding what really binds us together in those struggles so that we can fight our way forward with real love and solidarity.”

Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA