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From the 1870s until the Second World War millions of Americans left their homes to board freight trains that would carry them vast distances sometimes to waiting work often to points unknown Congregating in skid rows socialising around campfires and bringing in the nation's crops these drifters were set apart from conformist America by a lifestyle possessing its own haunts vocabulary and cultural sexual and ethical standards Alternately derided and lionised for their footloose ways and nonconformity hoboes played a crucial and largely neglected role in the creation of not only America's infrastructure industry and agriculture but also i
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Ountry musicians and little known correspondents for the likes of the Hobo News the authors and songwriters contained in On the Fly run the full gamut of Hobohemia's wide cultural and geographical embrace With little of the original memoirs literature and verse remaining in print this collection aided by a glossary of hobo vernacular and numerous illustrations and photos provides a comprehensive and entertaining guide to the life and times of a uniuely American icon Read on to enter a world where hoboes tramps radicals and bums gather in jungles flop houses and boxcars; where gandy dancers bindlestiffs and timber beasts roam the rails on
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Ts culture politics and music The first anthology of its kind On the Fly brings forth the lost voices of Hobohemia Dozens of stories poems songs stories and articles produced by hoboes are brought together to create an insider history of the subculture's rise and fall Adrenaline charged tales of train hopping scams and political agitation are combined with humorous and satirical songs razor sharp reportage and uniue insights into the lives of the women and men who crisscrossed America in search of survival and adventure From iconic figures such as labour martyr Joe Hill and socialist novelist Jack London through to pioneering blues and c