Today, he points out in an afterword, the industrial landscape has become a lonely place, with one crane operator replacing gangs of longshoremen; one gargantuan strip-mining machine, a team of miners. This increasingly automated world is gradually becoming invisible to most of us. "Your home is probably connected to an electric-power substation, a telephone switching office, a water filtration plant," Hayes writes. "Do you know where they are ... or what they look like?"
Perhaps after reading this extraordinary book, more people will be inspired to find out.