Once an Engineer

ebook A Song of the Salt City · SUNY series in Italian/American Culture

By Joe Amato

cover image of Once an Engineer

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Finalist for the 2009 ForeWord Book of the Year in the Autobiography/Memoir Category
Once an Engineer is a funny, tragic, garlicky chronicle of a dozen years spent growing up on the wrong side of the tracks. The tail end of the sixties finds Joe and his younger brother, Mike, living with their divorced and unemployed father in a low-income neighborhood on the edge of Syracuse, New York, a once prosperous city now down on its luck. Mike and Joe mature under their father's distinctively masculine tutelage, but their dreams of a better life are tempered by the harsh realities of public assistance.
When the brothers are offered the chance to attend college, they are drawn to the engineering profession, with its seductive promise of middle-class wages and social status. At the same time, their father's trade, furniture finishing, succumbs to a new era of industrial and economic change, and as the gap between father and sons widens, they come to learn the true costs of upward mobility.
Once an Engineer tells the story of three lives rooted in the moods and lore of Central New York, and the difficulty of finding meaningful work in a world gone inexorably, technologically global.
Once an Engineer