This is a book of “cultural studies” about what it’s like to work in labor-intensive blue collar jobs, written by someone who worked a number of those jobs, as well as, has the educational background to apply a few theories and analysis to the study as well. It’s not an academic work in that way, but is clearly cognizant of the long history of labor studies. The book itself is a little more like a memoir, but a memoir framed around analysis as well. It covers a wide array of topics such as hierarchies in working situations, attitudes respective to laborers, managers, owners, the psychology surrounding research, attitudes surrounding work slowdowns and the like.
It’s not anti-academic at all, or not in the sense of being against or versus academia, but it does present a resentment toward some specific academic discourses based in part the ways in which “study” often led to worse working conditions (if a study if funded by an industry looking for ways to increase production, they don’t always look for ways to also make working conditions more safe, more well paid, and more equitable. Instead, it’s full of eye-level analysis from the very specific place of workers, sidestepping the specific need for academic research. This both increases and limits its usefulness in differing ways.