Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes
By Ted Conover
Vintage, Paperback, 9780375727863, 304pp.
Publication Date: September 11, 2001
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.
"Vivid, sensitive... this always compelling odyssey explains life beyond the pale of comfort."
--Los Angeles Times
"Rolling Nowhere is so vivid that every few pages the urge to clack the dust from one's own clothes is almost irresistible."
--The New York Times Book Review