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Rivet Head [Hardcover]

B. Hamper
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 1992
A memoir of life on a car assembly line. Ben Hamper takes the reader into the world of the shoprats and rivetheads, nicknames for people who work building cars. The author aims to give an insight into the largely forgotten people at the heart of any industrial nation.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company; First Printing edition (31 Dec 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446515019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446515016
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 942,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
I WAS SEVEN YEARS OLD THE FIRST TIME I EVER SET FOOT inside an automobile factory. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I was forced to read this book...against my better wishes, my hellish American History professor assigned this book to our class. As I read the title I remembered thinking: "how in the world is an assembly line job interesting enough to read about?" About the only thing I thought the book had going for it was the foreward by Michael Moore. It looked like I was going have to spend another weekend plodding though a boring book when I could have been spending it at the movies or out with my friends. It turned out to be one of the best weekends of my life. The books was hilarious -- It was real, gritty, sharp and wonderfully written. After reading the introduction, I was hooked: I locked myself in my room, unplugged the telephone and didn't put down the book until I was finished. That was ten minutes ago -- now I am online looking to see if he has written any other books...I was disapointed to see that he hasn't. Ben Hamper -- wherever you are -- I have joined the ranks as your loyal fan. Even though you no longer work for GM, I hope you will find another story out there and tell the world about it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading 9 Jan 2004
Format:Paperback
I just bought Rivethead again, probably the fifth or sixth time. You never get it back when you lend it to people. Not only is this book hilarious and bitingly witty, it is a brilliant look at how work screws you up. I first read it when working in an industrial packaging factory, no where near as brutal as the rivetline at GM, but there's so much you can relate to. Anyone who's ever worked in a factory, anyone who wonders why ordinary Americans are as they are needs to, no MUST, read this book.
Better than anything Michael Moore has written, sorry that Ben Hamper is no longer writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bukowski with Comedy 18 Aug 2003
Format:Paperback
Although Hamper's comedic effect is often too studied, almost affected, it still elicits a hearty bellylaugh - in a way that Bukowski has not.
Ben Hamper takes us on a journey into the industrial wastelands of blue-collar toil - beer, repetition, noise, grime, mental atrophy...all the things that have made the US in to the industrial giant it is. He writes with a casually sharpened observation that belies his eventual descent in to the maddened pit created by the demons of industrialization. Indeed, I was surprised by how this chronicle ends and the annals or work-related literature deserve a closure from Hamper, as the lastest recruit 'accepting the baton from crab claw to puppy paw'.
Ben Hamper has written about only one topic yet he has done it with greater panache than Bukowski's 'Post Office'.Like they say - 'It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it!'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reluctant champion of the shoprat 8 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Ben Hamper is best known as "the guy shooting free throws" in Michael Moore's "Roger and Me". But he was also a longtime columnist under the title "Rivethead". Years of working under the hypocritical policies of GM drive him to write his scathing this book about how to pass the time and abuse numerous substances while building Suburbans for upper-middle class soccer moms. If anyone thinks that working for GM, or any industrial powerhouse, is a plum job with high pay, good hours, and loads of fun, then read this book and learn something about the way corporations value human capital.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Hamper's style reads like a cross between James Thurber and Hunter S Thompson - savage, endlessy referential and very very funny. Ben would be the least likely to admit it, but in his own way his shoprat's-eye view on the state of labour relations in the US, and by proxy the rest of the western world, is as important as anything written by Lee Iacocca when it comes to business management. Although he's got nothing else in print, he still writes a more-or-less regular column on Michael Moore's website...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Ben Hamper's outrageous description of life on the
car and truck assembly line had me laughing out loud at the antics of both workers and bosses at the GM factory in Flint, Michigan. Hamper uses words like rivets and blasts them at the nearest human target; no one escapes his savage attack, not even himself. Hamper is a "flake" and he knows it, but he is an observant flake who is just as adept at turning a phrase as he is finding ways to avoid work. He seeks to please no one, not even himself, and he succeeds beyond even his expectations. Read at your own risk is how Hamper himself might caution us about "Rivethead."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Rivethead hammers down to the real need to assemble the factory workers of today and rework their life, both in and out of the plant. This is the autobiography of a misfit fitting parts together with other misfits in a system managed by automotive nurse ratchets(or is that wrenches?). The goal is to work less, make more, and spend it all on booze and music. Friendships are born from boredom and last until the next layoff. It's a day of drudgery, whose purpose is somewhat existential with a Woody Allen twist. Finally, in the end, life is just a panic. Move on down the line and pick up this book, you just might need it before the next order comes on down from above.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read 2 Mar 2014
By Tom
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was interesting but not riveting! At no point did anyone associate his alcohol or drig consumption with his phycosis
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Present
This was a present for my brother and he absolutely loved it - so if you know anyone interested in the subject get them this and they will be very happy
Published 5 months ago by Pauline
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into factory life
A very interesting perspective on what it was like to work for GM in the late 70s and 80s, a real page turner and very funny at times
Published 7 months ago by Farmerpug
5.0 out of 5 stars Living in the real world!
There are many books written about industry, rarely by the people who are at the sharp end and have to cope with the worst effects of "progress", so where's the fun in... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Robert Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivetting
I bought this after reading a recommendation by Jeremy Clarkson, and I wasn't disappointed. If you've ever worked for a large company or on a shop floor- met people with weird... Read more
Published on 30 May 2011 by Dan Brierley
3.0 out of 5 stars rivethead
Product was not as good as expected. Pages started to come loose as soon as I started reading it. Rivethead
Published on 11 Oct 2009 by G. Jenkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting
A great book period.One of the very few books written by a working class writer.'Ragged trousered philanthrapist' and 'the grass arena' are the only ones that come to mind. Read more
Published on 18 July 2009 by bucky
5.0 out of 5 stars A British view
I first read this book when I working in a factory, mid 1980's, my girlfriend at the time lent it to me. Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2009 by mikee
3.0 out of 5 stars US lorry production
This is a description of the erratic life style of an assembly line worker at a General Motors factory at Flint, Michigan, trying to make his work more interesting. Read more
Published on 6 April 2009 by Dr. Geoffrey Brundrett
5.0 out of 5 stars why didn't you go into brewing?
ben hamper would have made a great brewery worker , with his cynicism and wrath he could have been the next Hunter .s Thompson,,,and we would all have loved it... Read more
Published on 15 Jun 1999
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