The Boys in the Bunkhouse

The Boys in the Bunkhouse


With this Dickensian tale from America’s heartland, New York Times writer and columnist Dan Barry tells the harrowing yet uplifting story of the exploitation and abuse of a resilient group of men with intellectual disability, and the heroic efforts of those who helped them to find justice and reclaim their lives.

In the tiny Iowa farm town of Atalissa, dozens of men, all with intellectual disability and all from Texas, lived in an old schoolhouse. Before dawn each morning, they were bussed to a nearby processing plant, where they eviscerated turkeys in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. They lived in near servitude for more than thirty years, enduring increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse—until state social workers, local journalists, and one tenacious labor lawyer helped these men achieve freedom.

Drawing on exhaustive interviews, Dan Barry dives deeply into the lives of the men, recording their memories of suffering, loneliness and fleeting joy, as well as the undying hope they maintained despite their traumatic circumstances. Barry explores how a small Iowa town remained oblivious to the plight of these men, analyzes the many causes for such profound and chronic negligence, and lays out the impact of the men’s dramatic court case, which has spurred advocates—including President Obama—to push for just pay and improved working conditions for people living with disabilities.

A luminous work of social justice, told with compassion and compelling detail, The Boys in the Bunkhouse is more than just inspired storytelling. It is a clarion call for a vigilance that ensures inclusion and dignity for all.

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  • 001 The Boys in The Bunkhouse
    Duration: 40s
  • 002 Preface
    Duration: 12min
  • 003 Chapter 01
    Duration: 17min
  • 004 Chapter 02
    Duration: 22min
  • 005 Chapter 03
    Duration: 16min
  • 006 Chapter 04
    Duration: 25min
  • 007 Chapter 05
    Duration: 24min
  • 008 Chapter 06
    Duration: 15min
  • 009 Chapter 07
    Duration: 20min
  • 010 Chapter 08
    Duration: 22min
  • 011 Chapter 09
    Duration: 42min
  • 012 Chapter 10
    Duration: 25min
  • 013 Chapter 11
    Duration: 24min
  • 014 Chapter 12
    Duration: 35min
  • 015 Chapter 13
    Duration: 17min
  • 016 Chapter 14
    Duration: 31min
  • 017 Chapter 15
    Duration: 29min
  • 018 Chapter 16
    Duration: 35min
  • 019 Chapter 17
    Duration: 29min
  • 020 Chapter 18
    Duration: 26min
  • 021 Chapter 19
    Duration: 32min
  • 022 Chapter 20
    Duration: 17min
  • 023 Chapter 21
    Duration: 35min
  • 024 Chapter 22
    Duration: 19min
  • 025 Chapter 23
    Duration: 03min
  • 026 Credits
    Duration: 01min
  • sample
    Duration: 01min