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Jeanne Marie Laskas on the jobs in 'Hidden America'

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'Hidden America' by Jeanne Marie Laskas
Book cover courtesy of publisher

In 'Hidden America,' author Jeanne Marie Laskas takes readers down deep into coal mines, out on Alaskan oil rigs and up into the air traffic control tower at New York's LaGuardia Airport. She was on a mission to tell the stories in parts of the country we know so little about.

Laskas talked to NPR about the migrant workers she met in Maine picking blueberries:

They're the ones who are laboring right there under the noses of, you know, everyone -- the consumer. We don't think about that. ... It's really easy to sort of get romantic about this or to romanticize this situation...

But then you go, 'OK, well, wait a minute? How much are these people getting paid to pick these blueberries? And who has time? And what's the matter with that farmer who's not paying enough money to pick the blueberries?' Well, take it the next step: Where does that cost translate? That translates to us, the consumer. Are we really willing to pay $30 a pound for blueberries? No, we want them affordable. So that's who's eating the cost -- the worker.

Laskas joined The Daily Circuit Oct. 18, 2012 to discuss her new book and the people she met while compiling it.

VIDEO: Laskas discussing her book