Once upon a time, we knew the origins of things: what piece of earth the potato on our dinner plate came from, which well our water was dipped from, who cobbled our shoes, and whose cow provided the leather. In many parts of the world, that information is still readily available. But in our society, even as technology makes certain kinds of information more accessible than ever, other connections are irrevocably lost. In Glass, Paper, Beans, Leah Cohen traces three simple commodities on their geographic and semantic journey from her rickety table in the Someday CafÚ to their various points of origin. And through the intimate portraits of three everyday workers--Ruth Lamp, a night-shift supervisor at the Anchor Hocking glass factory in Ohio; Brent Boyd, a third-generation lumberjack from Plumweseep, Canada; and Basilio Salinas, a man who tends the coffee trees at Pluma Hidalgo, Mexico--a whole new world of connections and values are realized as Cohen, Oz-like, draws the reader across time and continents.
In prose both sophisticated and stunningly simple, Leah Cohen braids the lives of these three unforgettable workers as she traces the origins, myths, and manufacture of glass, paper, and the beloved coffee bean. An elegant and inspired inquiry into the true nature of things, Glass, Paper, Beans is a classic work on the economy of everyday life.
Leah Hager Cohen is the author of Train Go Sorry: Inside a Deaf World, chosen by the American Library Association as one of the best books of 1994. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and son.
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Published January 20, 1997
by Doubleday Business.
Business & Economics.