Done and Been: Steel Rail Chronicles of American Hobos

Gyspy Moon, Author, Gypsy Moon, Author, Gypsy, Author Indiana University Press $12.95 (216p) ISBN 978-0-253-21035-7
Jacqueline Schmidt (aka Gypsy Moon, Queen of the Hobos) has brought to light the transient lives of hobos who ride the rails. Storytelling is a time-honored tradition with these folks, and their own anecdotes of narrow escape and adventure are no disappointments. Personal accounts told compellingly and in poignant simplicity add flavor to the book, and though some readers may be put off by these unconventional souls, most will come away intrigued and educated. Gypsy Moon, whose father was a hobo for a time, grew up surrounded by the mystique of the free-spirited tribe, and her fascination led her to seek out some of the characters she had heard so much about. Schmidt gained the trust of many of the usually cautious people she interviewed, and following a trip on a freight train, she earned the name Gypsy Moon from the ""Railriders of America."" She dispels many myths about hobos, who began the tradition by riding the rails in search of work. According to Steamtrain Maury, ""bums are usually alcoholics or men that can't work, or won't work. But the hobos all had good trades and good arts and crafts that they worked at. And they made their way. They didn't bum their way."" Along with Gypsy Moon's journal of her trip and interviews are photographs, a glossary of terms and a compilation of hobo recipes, adding more spice to this unusual book. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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Hardcover - 978-0-253-32985-1
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