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Ever since track was first laid for the great locomotives, hobos have listened to the call of the rails, lured by the possibility of free transportation to another place—if they could make their way unnoticed and unharmed. They rode the rails for various reasons—to escape economic hardship, satisfy an urge for adventure, or simply to feed their wanderlust. Along the way, they developed their own culture.
This book, like a mulligan stew, contains a variety of ingredients from the hobo culture: hobo life as it was lived at the turn of the twentieth century, women hobos, hobo heroes, hobo signs and symbols, contemporary hobos telling of their experiences, and hobo traditions from the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa—an event that has opened a door into the hobo world every August for more than 100 years. The convention motto is “There’s a Little Bit of Hobo in All of Us.” If you’re a hobo at heart, open this book and savor the stew.