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Jeanne Marie Laskas first came across "hidden America" 500 feet underground, traveling with miners through a narrow, dark coal mine in Ohio. There, she realized how dependent we are on the work of miners, yet most people know very little about their world or their work.
In a new book, Laskas chronicles her weeks spent following the lives of those whose jobs are nearly invisible to most of us, from air traffic controllers and truck drivers, to migrant workers and professional football cheerleaders.
NPR's Neal Conan talks with Laskas about her book, Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, An Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work.