Worn: A People’s History of Clothing

Penguin Random House Audio. Jan. 2022. 13:13 hrs. ISBN 9780593413906. $22.50. HIST
Artist, musician, and writer Thanhauser (creative writing, Pratt Inst.) combines a broad history of clothing with interviews and reportage exposing the modern apparatus behind global mass-produced fashion. She jokes that she was a “polemical teenager” in a charming introductory anecdote. Yet, this audio book incisively shows the links among American foreign policy interests, the textile industry’s move to overseas production, and centuries-long patterns of labor exploitation that persist in sweatshops today, as a whole it will leave listeners feeling informed and thoughtful rather than harangued or guilty, if more likely to consider garment construction and fabric type along with the “Made in” label the next time they buy a shirt. Rebecca Lowman’s narration is precise, accurate, and highly attuned to fluctuations in genre and tone, fitting the text like a glove.
VERDICT This expertly narrated, forceful debut is mandatory listening for armchair historians and economists alike.
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