Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local

Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local—and Helped Save an American Town. Little, Brown. Jul. 2014. 368p. notes. ISBN 9780316231435. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316231565. BUS
"Fight harder than everybody else" is the motto of John Bassett III, the folksy but cunning scion of the eponymous furniture company. Bassett has proven his point by taking on Chinese companies that were dumping furniture into the U.S. market at artificially low prices, forcing American manufacturers out of business. He formed a coalition with other manufacturers, and they eventually won their case with the International Trade Commission in 2003. It was a hollow victory though, as most of the plants had already closed. This lengthy work written by investigative journalist Macy details the history of that case. It is much more than that, however, as the corporate and family feuds described are worthy of the television show Dallas. The book is also a story of the town Bassett, VA, and the workers—the Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. (founded in 1902) today employs more than 700 Virginians—who are struggling to hang on in a rapidly declining economy.
VERDICT Macy, herself the daughter of an assembly-line worker, offers a well-researched title that reads like a novel, with plenty of juicy characters and dialog. For public library and university business collections.
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