Synopses & Reviews
Every year, between one and two million Americans work as interns. They famously shuttle coffee in a thousand newsrooms, congressional offices, and Hollywood studios, but they also deliver aid in Afghanistan, build the human genome, and pick up garbage. They are increasingly of all ages, and their numbers are growing fast from 17 percent of college graduates in 1992 to 50 percent in 2008. A huge and increasing number of internships are illegal under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and this mass exploitation saves firms more than $600 million each year. Interns enjoy no workplace protections and no standing in courts of law let alone benefits like health care. Ross Perlin has written the first expose of this world of drudgery and aspiration. In this witty, astonishing, and serious investigative work, Perlin takes the reader inside both boutique nonprofits and megacorporations such as Disney (which employs 8,000 interns at Disney World alone). He profiles fellow interns, talks to academics and professionals about what unleashed this phenomenon, and explains why the intern boom is perverting workplace practices in locations all around the world. Insightful and humorous, Intern Nation will transform the way we think about the culture of work.
"A portrait of how white-collar work is changing ... thought-provoking and at times jaw-dropping--almost a companion volume to Naomi Klein's celebrated 2000 exposé of modern sweatshops, No Logo." Andy Beckett
"A compelling investigation of a trend that threatens to destroy 'what's left of the ordered world of training, hard work and fair compensation' ... Full of restrained force and wit, this is a valuable book on a subject that demands attention." Guardian
"This vigorous and persuasive book ... argues that the fundamental issue is the growing contingency of the global workforce." Observer
"Perlin contends that most internships are illegal ... stripping people who are employees in all but name of workers' rights." Roger D. Hodge Bookforum
"A book that offers landmark coverage of its topic." New Yorker
"Cloaked in the innocent idea of the intern, aggressive employers are using young people trying to get a foothold to weaken the leverage of existing workers, especially professionals. Ross Perlin gives us an account of another subterranean strategy to undermine working people." New Yorker
The first no-holds-barred exposé of the exploitative world of internships.
Millions of young people—and increasingly some not-so-young people—now work as interns. They famously shuttle coffee in a thousand magazine offices, legislative backrooms, and Hollywood studios, but they also deliver aid in Afghanistan, map the human genome, and pick up garbage. Intern Nation
is the first exposé of the exploitative world of internships. In this witty, astonishing, and serious investigative work, Ross Perlin profiles fellow interns, talks to academics and professionals about what unleashed this phenomenon, and explains why the intern boom is perverting workplace practices around the world.
The hardcover publication of this book precipitated a torrent of media coverage in the US and UK, and Perlin has added an entirely new afterword describing the growing focus on this woefully underreported story. Insightful and humorous, Intern Nation will transform the way we think about the culture of work.
About the Author
Ross Perlin is a graduate of Stanford, SOAS, and Cambridge, and has written for, the New York Times, Time magazine, Lapham’s Quarterly, Guardian, Daily Mail, and Open Democracy. He is researching disappearing languages in China.