In Limbo, award-winning journalist Alfred Lubrano identifies and describes an overlooked cultural phenomenon: the internal conflict within individuals raised in blue-collar homes, now living white-collar lives. These people often find that the values of the working class are not sufficient guidance to navigate the white-collar world, where unspoken rules reflect primarily upper-class values. Torn between the world they were raised in and the life they aspire too, they hover between worlds, not quite accepted in either. Himself the son of a Brooklyn bricklayer, Lubrano informs his account with personal experience and interviews with other professionals living in limbo. For millions of Americans, these stories will serve as familiar reminders of the struggles of achieving the American Dream.
Introduction. 1. Bricklayer’s Son: The Birth and Clash of Values. 2. Crawling Out of the Black Hole: The Pain of Transition. 3. The Shock of Education: How College Corrupts. 4. Culture Conflicts: First Encounters with the Upper Classes. 5. Going Home: An Identity Changed Forever. 6. Office Politics: The Blue-Collar Way. 7. Class, Love and Progeny: The Ultimate Battle. 8. Duality: The Never-Ending Struggle with Identity. Conclusion. Endnotes. Source Notes. Acknowledgments. Index.
ALFRED LUBRANO is a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, a contributing editor to GQ, and a commentator for National Public Radio since 1992. He has won six national journalism awards, and has contributed to several magazines and anthologies on writing.
A groundbreaking work of narrative nonfiction This powerful book uncovers a cultural phenomenon—the limbo existence of people raised in blue-collar families, living white-collar lives. Limbo presents a thoughtful look at this phenomenon through the author's personal story, and those of 100 interviewees, all struggling with the duality that exists in their workplaces, their hearts, and their minds. "In Limbo, people straddle two social zones . . . The future is never assured when you come from a house of rough hands. There are many profound opinions in this major newspaperman's reporting." —Jimmy Breslin Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of The Short Sweet Dream of Eduardo Gutierrez "If you have any bloodlines at all to the working class, you will recognize—and newly discover—yourself in Alfred Lubrano's inspired book. Limbo brings to life the minefield crossover from the blue-collar world to the white-collar one in prose that is at once trout-stream clear and luminous. It's the very American, real-as-a-streetfight story of a bricklayer's son's own uneasy journey out of Bensonhurst woven movingly with the journeys of a legion of other 'Straddlers.' Don't pass this gem by." —Sydney Schanberg Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of The Death and Life of Dith Pran "Al Lubrano is a great reporter and the kind of writer whose work is infused with both thought and feeling. He has chosen here a great and often overlooked subject, the role of class in modern American society, and has produced a book rich with insight into both his own life and all our lives. If you are like me, you will nod your head with recognition throughout." —Mark Bowden author of Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo
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