Tales of an American Hobo

Charles E. Fox, Author, Lynne Adrian, Introduction by, Albert E. Stone, Preface by University of Iowa Press $29.95 (252p) ISBN 978-0-87745-251-5
This mosaic of memoriespk from the author's years riding the rails echo belies the stereotype of the hobo as an unshaven, ignorant bum. Like most of the hobo autobiographies that have survived, it dates from the period 1880-1940, when these migratory men and women were a common sight on America's roads and railways. Fox ( Weeds and Other Good Things to Eat ) himself left a broken home in 1928, when he was not quite 15 should we add ``years old''?pk , and quickly became part of the network of those who traveled wherever the trains and their imaginations could carry them, picking up odd jobs at factories or farms until wanderlust struck again. His evocative anecdotes, which read as though they were being told to a group of friends, range from a narrow escape from a crazed killer to a visit with ``Soup Bean Annie,'' who fed every passing hobo, hoping that some day one of them would be the husband who left her for the call of the road. At times Fox rambles, and some stories fall flat. Taken as a whole, however, the book is a lively picture pk of an unjustly neglected part of American culture. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
Paperback - 226 pages - 978-0-87745-252-2
Open Ebook - 247 pages - 978-1-58729-069-5
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