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The Boys In The Bunkhouse

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A Dickensian tale from America’s heartland, The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland is the latest from New York Times writer and columnist Dan Barry.

In the tiny Iowa farm town of Atalissa, Iowa, dozens of men, all with intellectual disability and all from Texas, lived in an old schoolhouse. Before dawn each morning, they were bussed to a nearby processing plant, where they eviscerated turkeys in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. They lived in near servitude for more than 30 years, enduring increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse — until state social workers, local journalists, and one tenacious labor lawyer helped these men achieve freedom.

A luminous work of social justice, told with compassion and compelling detail, The Boys in the Bunkhouse is more than just inspired storytelling. It is a clarion call for a vigilance that ensures inclusion and dignity for all.

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