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Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

Barbara Shulgasser
[Much of this book] is so vivid that every few pages the urge to clack the dust from one's own clothes is almost irresistible. . . . [Mr. Conover] notes with disgust that camaraderie does exist but that violence among hobos is as prevalent as the sharing of cheap muscatel. Many observations bring to mind only the youth of the author. Harboring a "romantic vision" of hobos, he is "sickened" and "revolted" by many predictable aspects of the vagabond life -- homosexuality, violence and betrayal. For someone so taken with unconventionality, he overflows with conventional piety. But these are minor flaws. If his journey shook some of the romance out of his vision of hobos, perhaps writing this book also flushed away some of his wide-eyed sanctimoniousness. His next book could be a humdinger.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375727863
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/11/2001
  • Series: Vintage Departures Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 303,721
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Ted Conover is the author of several books including Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize) and Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America’s Hoboes. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and National Geographic. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he is Distinguished Writer-in-Residence in the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He lives in New York City.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2006

    Very unique and thought provoking book

    I'll admit it! At first I wasn't a fan of this book. The author is a student from Amherst college (a prestigious, almost-ivy league institution) and I found myself thinking this author is just going to have Daddy pay his way through his experience as a hobo. And at first it did seem as though this would be the case, however, I was pleasently surprised. Conover develops a well-rounded story with dynamic characters which offers an interesting peak into this unseen, mysterious world. At first, the writing is not terrific and I criticized it as being similiar to a college essay. However, as the story progresses it transforms into excellent prose. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the life of hobos, or anyone looking for an excellent non-fiction adventure story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2001

    Well worth the wait

    It took me about 3 months to find this book because at that time it was out of print. It was WELL worth the wait!! this is a real page turner, the writer makes you want to know what the next experience on the rails is going to be. A very comprehensive look at life (good and bad) on the rails. it will quench your thirst for wonderlust, or whet your appetite! Take advantage of this title while it's so easily available, you won't regret it!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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