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Beggars of Life: A Hobo Autobiography…

Beggars of Life: A Hobo Autobiography (NABAT)

by Jim Tully

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1924. A rollicking good tale of life on the road. Tully tells it like it was. He basically goes around begging and stealing and trying not to get too mixed up with the rougher criminal types. His depictions of incidents involving black people show the brutal way they were often treated among white hoboes and in society in general. It's not a nice or genteel book. He frequents brothels and isn't too kind to the women there, but neither is he entirely an unfeeling beast. He seems to be trying to report a faithful record of what happened, through a lens of his own prejudices, which I can only imagine must have been fairly typical of the time period. People are beaten frequently, injured and killed on the trains, and he witnesses a lynching at one point. It's a bit graphic sometimes. Overall, an interesting window into another era.
  kylekatz | Aug 17, 2014 |
There's some good anecdotal stories here but not much for plot; the chapters are snapshots of a life on the rods tied up in the end with a bit of socio-cultural commentary. What's most interesting about this book is the fact it's been out of print for decades and this publisher (Nabat) has spent time researching the archives of the Library of Congress to find books of this nature and republish them (i.e. You Can't Win by Jack Black - highly recommended). A publisher myself, and very interested in American history-culture-society, this strategy appeals to me.
  NateJordon | Feb 26, 2009 |
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