In Ted Conover's first book, now back in print, he enters a segment of humanity outside society and reports back on a world few of us would chose to enter but about which we are all curious.
Hoboes fascinated Conover, but he had only encountered them in literature and folksongs. So, he decided to take a year off and ride the rails. Equipped with rummage-store clothing, a bedroll, and a few other belongings, he hops a freight train in St. Louis, becoming a tramp in order to discover their peculiar culture. The men and women he meets along the way are by turns generous and mistrusting, resourceful and desperate, philosophical and profoundly cynical. And the narrative he creates of his travels with them is unforgettable and moving.
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Ted Conover is the author most recently of the National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing. He lives in New York City.From AudioFile:
The tramp travels, and he works, Conover was told while riding the rails. "The hobo, he travels, but he don't work. Just likes drifting. The bum ain't gonna do nothing, work or travel." An anthropology major, Conover spent five dollars on thrift-shop clothes and jumped a freight. Before he was done, he'd jumped 65 of them, slept in hobo jungles, and been jailed for asking to see a policeman's badge number. He even worked in the fields and gave blood for money. That was more than twenty years ago, but there's a new preface, and Conover still sounds like himself, a keen observer with in-fectious innocence and a yen for social justice. B.H.C. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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