Book — 1 online resource (xlix, 168 pages) : illustrations. Digital: data file.
In 1894, an eighteen-year-old Jack London quit his job shoveling coal, hopped a freight train, and left California on the first leg of a ten thousand-mile odyssey. His adventure was an exaggerated version of the unemployed migrations made by millions of boys, men, and a few women during the original ""great depression"" of the 1890s. By taking to the road, young wayfarers like London forged a vast hobo subculture that was both a product of the new urban industrial order and a challenge to it. As London's experience suggests, this hobo world was born of equal parts desperation and fascination. ""I went on 'The Road, '"" he writes, ""because I couldn't keep away from it...because I was so made that I couldn't work all my life on 'one same shift'; because - well, just because it was easier to than not to."" The best stories that London told about his hoboing days can be found in ""The Road"", a collection of nine essays with accompanying illustrations, most of which originally appeared in ""Cosmopolitan"" magazine between 1907 and 1908. His virile persona spoke to white middle-class readers who vicariously escaped their desk-bound lives and followed London down the hobo trail. The zest and humor of his tales, as Todd DePastino explains in his lucid introduction, often obscure their depth and complexity. ""The Road"" is as much a commentary on London's disillusionment with wealth, celebrity, and the literary marketplace as it is a picaresque memoir of his youth. (source: Nielsen Book Data)
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2006.
Book — 1 online resource (214 pages) : illustrations, maps Digital: data file.
The search for John Henry
To the White House
Man versus mountain
The Southern Railway Octopus
Songs people have sung: 1900-1930
The ballad "John Henry" is the most recorded folk song in American history and John Henry-the mighty railroad man who could blast through rock faster than a steam drill-is a towering figure in our culture. But for over a century, no one knew who the original John Henry was-or even if there was a real John Henry. In Steel Drivin' Man, Scott Reynolds Nelson recounts the true story of the man behind the iconic American hero, telling the poignant tale of a young Virginia convict who died working on one of the most dangerous enterprises of the time, the first rail route through the Appalachian Mountains. Using census data, penitentiary reports, and railroad company reports, Nelson reveals how John Henry, victimized by Virginia's notorious Black Codes, was shipped to the infamous Richmond Penitentiary to become prisoner number 497, and was forced to labor on the mile-long Lewis Tunnel for the C&O railroad. Nelson even confirms the legendary contest between John Henry and the steam drill (there was indeed a steam drill used to dig the Lewis Tunnel and the convicts in fact drilled faster). Equally important, Nelson masterfully captures the life of the ballad of John Henry, tracing the song's evolution from the first printed score by blues legend W. C. Handy, to Carl Sandburg's use of the ballad to become the first "folk singer, " to the upbeat version by Tennessee Ernie Ford. We see how the American Communist Party appropriated the image of John Henry as the idealized American worker, and even how John Henry became the precursor of such comic book super heroes as Superman or Captain America. Attractively illustrated with numerous images, Steel Drivin' Man offers a marvelous portrait of a beloved folk song-and a true American legend. (source: Nielsen Book Data)