Last summer, writer DW Gibson hit the road for four months, interviewing 200 of the estimated 8 million Americans who have lost their jobs in the Great Recession, in an attempt to gain a granular understanding of unemployment.

The resulting book, Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today’s Changing Economy, is in the tradition of America’s foremost oral historian Studs Terkel, who chronicled the American experience of employment (Working, 1974) and unemployment (Hard Times, 1970).

In the coming weeks, in readings across the country, Gibson will be accompanied by people featured in the book who will read out their own story. A documentary film is to follow in fall. A website where Americans can contribute their own experiences of unemployment aims to grow into a public archive of the period.

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