Hardy Green is the author of two books, including The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills That Shaped the American Economy (Basic Books, 2010), which The New York Times called “a collection of important, well-told stories about the contradictions, inequities and possibilities of American capitalism.” A former BusinessWeek associate editor, his articles have appeared in Fortune, Reuters.com, The Boston Globe, Publisher’s Weekly, and the French newsweekly Le Point. He has taught history at Stony Brook University, from which he holds a PhD in U.S. History. He can be reached at: hardygreen1@gmail.com

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Clark July 6, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Hardy –
We went to Central together, and worked on the Warrior senior year together. I’ve seen bits by and about you from time to time and wanted only to say hello and congratulate you on your forthcoming book and what appears to have been a very respectable career in journalism. I worked for The Commercial Appeal for 13 years, but left journalism more than 25 years ago to be a house husband. Caught on to your blog from the Rhodes magazine, which we get because my wife was in the class of ’74. Well, good luck with the book. Mike Clark


HardyGreen July 8, 2010 at 11:21 am

Hey Mike–Of course, I remember you well and all the times we spent goofing off in the hallway before class. Thanks for your kind words. I’m a sort-of house husband myself, now, having been laid off by BusinessWeek last December. But the prospect of my book, which officially is published on September 7, allows me to keep my spirits up. What part of Memphis do you live in?


Michael Clark March 24, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Sorry, Hardy, a bit of inattention there. I live in Hein Park, a couple of steps up, but only half a mile east of where I lived in high school. I saw excellent reviews of the book; hope it has gone well. Note your PhD. My middle child is in a PhD program in history at Johns Hopkins. Mentioned you recently to a fellow Centralite and New Yorker, William Zangwill. His mother still lives down the block and we stay in touch.


Michael Clark March 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Sorry, Hardy. It was insensitive of me not to commiserate at least a bit on your lay off. I suppose it is simply that I know so many in journalism who have had this experience. Inasmuch as it appears your last blog entry is more than a month old, have you started another project? I mourn the passing of daily journalism in relative backwaters such as mine. Not only has the newspaper all but died, but we are losing our book stores and video rentals. Technology is wonderful, but I don’t think we can afford the future of the information age.


Jack Covert September 11, 2010 at 9:27 am


Love your book. I will write a review on the book shortly. Congratulations and what is the next book about?


HardyGreen September 13, 2010 at 7:20 am

Thanks Jack–I’m hoping that feedback on this book will point me toward the next topic. Best regards, Hardy


Beth Gannon September 11, 2010 at 10:47 am

Dear Mr. Green,
I read the impressive review of “Company Town” first in the WSJ, and since on web-sites, etc. I am eager to finish your book, for at this very moment, I, too, am in the throes of writing my grandmother’s biography. She, in all stages of her life, was one of the many beneficiaries of company towns in PA and Upstate NY. You capture the business and culture of these areas very well. I thank you for your insight and contribution to this important historical topic. Please continue to share your knowledge with us. Long live the book, and long live great writers, like you.



Vadim Liberman October 4, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Hi Hardy,

You may remember you and Matthew Budman spoke a while back for an article he was writing for The Conference Board Review. Our most recent issue just came out, so I’m sending you a link to the article, where you may also download a PDF. Feel free to let me know if you like the piece, think it’s the worst piece of garbage ever written, or something in between. Also, if you need hard copies of the magazine, just let me know. Thanks again!



Vadim Liberman
Senior Editor
The Conference Board Review
212 339 0214


Bob Speed October 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I just heard your interview on KUOW/Seattle NPR. I lived in Alaska for nearly 25 years (1975-1999).
Alaska’s history is built on the equivalent of company towns serving Alaska’s major resource industries which often were in remote wilderness: commercial canneries, long-term logging camps in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, and to a lesser extent, mining.
Many of these were isolated by water, roadless land, and wilderness, with their own dormatories and housing, company stores, and no established government since the company and its industry were the only reason for its existence. Alcohol use often was banned, and any religious, medical, or other services were provided for by the companies themselves.
There remains a significant Filipino-American community around the state whose forebearers were drawn to Alaska Territory by jobs in the fish processing industry at the turn of the 20th Century.
For the most part, at least to my understanding, these were of the more benign type of community. Some still exist to some extent, especially for logging and fish processing, although any community of 25 or more residents with children is assigned a state-sponsored school. As a newspaper reporter I remember visiting floating logging camps such as J. R. Gildersleeve Logging’s floating camps on Dall Island, near Ketchikan. Such camps consisted of housing built on log rafts that could be moved from one location to another. One of the Gildersleeve camps was considered the largest of its kind, complete with streetlights, a church and a state-licensed one-room school for a the varying handfull of k-12 students — all undulating with the waves and tides. The Gildersleeve camps, among the last of their kind, closed operations in 2000 and were dismantled.
Some of the floating camps eventually became established towns. In 1960, a floating logging camp was built in Thorne Bay on Prince of Wales Island, west of Ketchikan. In 1962, Ketchikan Pulp Company, a rayon pulp mill and logging company, moved its main logging camp from Hollis to Thorne Bay. Roads were then constructed to connect Thorne Bay with Hollis, Craig and Klawock. During this time, it was considered the largest logging camp in North America. Thorne Bay evolved from a company-owned logging camp to an incorporated city by 1982, due in part to the land selection program provided for in the Alaska Statehood Act.
Salmon canneries were among the most remote of these company operations, since the only requirement was a stream with a salmon run big enough for seasonal operations. Because of the seasonal nature of work in Alaska, many of these logging and fish-processing operations closed after the salmon runs were over each fall, or in the case of logging, when the winter weather stopped work. There often were year-round “home guard” residents who provided unofficial off-season security or in their absence were paid to stay.
Many of the fish processing companies produced their own monetary tokens (or in Alaska, “bingles”) in various denominations, and perhaps scrip. I’m not sure how the workers were paid (U.S. currency or company scrip — although the tokens today are avidly collected as exonumia, I’ve never acually seen paper scrip). The tokens provided a general purpose, though, in that real money in Territorial days was in relatively short supply, and the “bingles” actually took up the slack in general commercial trade and were accepted in general exchange. There are stories of Alaskans traveling “Outside” (which usually meant Seattle) and becoming irate when their bingle money was refused in payment for goods (or drink).
Many remote plants operated their own “company store,” but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t other commerce in some locations — the more remote, the less likely. I’ve never heard of the kinds of near-slavery in Alaska that existed in some company towns you have researched for your book or that Ernie Ford sang about; but then, I’m not sure the subject in Alaska has been well studied at all. I’ve sometimes thought of delving into the story myself.


anthony lagasi January 28, 2011 at 11:26 am

I read you book. It was thoughtful and fair. I was driving by the now vacant Lucent corporate campus in Whippany, NJ. Your observation regarding the isolation of the campus and its lack of integration within the community is spot on. It is remarkable that the closing of the enormous Lucent campus had only minimal effect on the community (except for property taxes) because the corporate community was never a part of the commercial or civic life of the community. For example there is no deli owner that sustained losses because lunch was provided at the corporate campus. I have since noticed many corporate campus “ghost towns” with vast empty parking lots, vacant like Giant Stadium out of season.


Anna S Leopold,sociologist February 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I am in the midst of reading Company Towns and enjoying it very much. My master’s paper for the University of Chicago was on “Smoky CIty”-Altoona, the PRR company town. Later, after retirement, I worked as a full time volunteer for America’s Industrial Heritage Project( U S Dept of Interior) for 20 years, writing about Vandergrift (steel), Kistler (refractories), and Aluminum City Terrace (New Kensington), and the planned homestead towns of Penn-craft(Quakers), and Norvelt in Pennsylvania and Eleanor Roosevelt’s favorite, Arthurdale (coal) in West Virginia.It is fascinating to read about all the others. Almost makes me wish I were still teaching for Penn State, so I could put it on the reading list. Thank you so much.


HardyGreen February 2, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Thanks so much for your interesting and flattering comment. I wish you were still teaching, too–I could use the sales!


Tighe Greenhalgh February 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Hi Hardy,

I am putting on a one-day conference in Baltimore on July 13. The conference is a chance to educate, motivate and celebrate our area entrepreneurs and the people that make them possible. We’d like to have you speak at the conference on traits of towns that produce successful companies, and the companies that make certain towns an attractive hub. Please let me know if you would be interested.

Thank you so much.


HardyGreen February 14, 2011 at 9:30 am

Can you tell me more? Do you have a tentative schedule now? Who else might be speaking? Is there an honorarium–or can you pay expenses, travel?


Gary Golio February 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Dear Hardy Green–
Looking over the Soapbox column in a recent issue of PW, I saw your essay with the subtitle “On Experiencing Mild Schizophrenia,” and was intrigued. Ah, I thought, this book must be about the author’s experience with mental illness. Of course, as we know, I was mistaken.
Now I don’t count myself among the Therapy Police, but as a therapist who has worked with clients suffering from psychotic disorders, your use of the term schizophrenia is definitely off-color. This condition–popularly misunderstood as “split personality disorder”–is undisputedly genetic, and wreaks havoc with a person’s life, behavior, and perceptions: there is no “mild” form. In fact, it’s comparable to saying that one had “mild” multiple sclerosis or “mild” cancer. Schizophrenia is a life-long sentence, and there is no cure. As an editor yourself, I’m surprised that this escaped your notice.


HardyGreen February 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm

You may well be right. Thanks for your comment.


j guyette June 4, 2011 at 9:27 pm

well hardly, looks like you got em enraptured (i was suppossed to be raptured a couple weeks ago, but got the math wrong. oh well, maybe next time) ( or maybe it was ruptured). nice to hear so many nice things. say hi to em. amf


Craig Hendricks June 28, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Hardy: A shout out to an old friend from SB grad school days! I saw you cited in an LA Times story this week on the collapsing logging industry in northern California. Company towns now in total retreat across the nation. Good to hear about you, Carol and I hope that you are doing well. I just retired from a wonderful teaching career and look forward to some travel. Hope to see you at some point in the future.


HardyGreen June 30, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Hi Craig: Great to hear from you. The book allowed me to reconnect with a variety of folks, including Tim Paterson (who now lives in Berkeley). Best, Hardy


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