Up All Night: A Portrait of Portland, Oregon Told Through Its Night Workers

In the tradition of Studs Terkel's legendary book, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, Martha Gies' book is a portrait of Portland, Oregon, told through profiles of its graveyard shift workers. 

In Up All Night a baker, a nude dancer, a flower market wholesaler, a longshoreman, a newspaper distributor, a shelter worker, a zookeeper, and sixteen other night workers living in Portland candidly share personal histories. Their stories about night work-and about their lives during the daylight hours-are often funny, often poignant. Some work at night by choice-to earn higher wages or to avoid bosses. For others, such as recent immigrants or parents with day-working spouses, their only option may be the midnight shift.

Author and night owl Martha Gies guides readers on a nocturnal tour of unique workplaces-the waiting ambulances that encircle the darkened city, the maze of conveyor belts at the industrial bakery, the Internet service provider's help desk. She visits and vividly describes the cold, gritty, and isolated settings of night work-the truck cab, the silhouetted cubicle, the empty street.

Up All Night gives us a rare insider's look at the unseen workers who keep the city humming after dark.


"[A] stirring collection of night shift stories… this medley of night vignettes offers a rare, intriguing look into the idiosyncratic lives of workers tucked away in the city's dark and often forgotten corners."

–Publishers Weekly

"Like Studs Terkel chronicling the lives of workers, Gies gets inside her story and allows us to get a real feel for a style of life few of us will experience. A fine example of living, breathing oral history."


"On the Skidmore fountain is inscribed: 'Good citizens are the riches of the city.' In Up All Night, Martha Gies brings many of Portland's riches to life in a very intimate way, giving an insight into the reality of the city not seen by us daytime 'normals.' A fascinating spectrum of people, a fascinating read. Once started, I couldn't put it down."

–Bud Clark, former Mayor of Portland, Oregon

Copyright Martha Gies, 2019. No portion of this site may be used without written permission.