Hard Travellin' by Kenneth Allsop
(Bloomsbury Reader)

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Synopsis

It was the railway system which moulded the American hobo into the legendary figure he became, especially in the depression years, but surviving until today. His origins, however, go back to the early pioneer days. He is in fact a unique and indigenous American product, 'capriciously used and discarded by a callous but dynamic system'. Revered and romanticized by some as the prototype of free man, he is hated and feared by others for his nonconformity.

In order to trace the origins of the various types of hobo and their effect on American life, Kenneth Allsop travelled 9,000 miles across the continent, following old hobo routes, interviewing and researching as he went along.
 

About Kenneth Allsop

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1920-1973 During the 1960's and until his death in 1973 Kenneth Allsop was one of the best known faces on BBC television. From reporting and interviewing on the innovative and hugely influential Tonight programme to being one of the main anchormen on the flagship current affairs programmes 24 Hours and Midweek he was watched and recognised by millions. But although it was television that made him a household name it was his writing that brought him the greatest pleasure. He produced half a dozen novels, most of them around the birds and nature that were his passion, and a book of short stories (nature again). In non-fiction he wrote a critically acclaimed account of new British writing in the 1950s (The Angry Decade), possibly the definitive history of Prohibition in America (The Bootleggers), and Hard Travellin', a history of the American hobo. He also published two collections of his journalistic writings - Scan and In The Country (recently republished).His journalistic output was truly prodigious. He was, at various times, feature writer for Picture Post, book critic for the London Evening News, jazz critic and book critic for the Daily Mail, and a regular contributor to Punch, Nova, Listener, The Spectator, The Sunday Times, and many other magazines and newspapers.In his introduction to Scan (1965) he estimated: "During my 20 years in journalism (printed and televised) I have interviewed a thousand people, reviewed 2,000 books, visited forty-odd countries and written (apart from books) a million-and-a-half words, which is almost twice as many as the bible....)." He was also one of the first true environmentalists, sounding warning calls in his writings and his broadcasts about the damage man was doing to his world 30 years before this became a popular cause.He was in constant pain from the stump of a leg amputated in 1943 as a result of an accident whilst in the RAF. He died of a barbiturate overdose in May 1973 in his beloved Dorset millhouse.
 
Published September 28, 2011 by Bloomsbury Reader. 444 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History. Non-fiction

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