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Download Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with Americas Hoboes Audiobook, by Ted Conover
3.79 out of 53.79 out of 53.79 out of 53.79 out of 53.79 out of 5 3.79 (29 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ted Conover Narrator: Ted Conover Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2005 ISBN: 9781596006058
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"I crouched quietly in the patch of tall weeds. Around me fell the shadow of the viaduct that carried a highway over the railroad yards. From the edge of the yards, I squinted as I watched the railroad cars being switched from track to track. Cars and trucks were rolling over the viaduct, but what occupied my attention was the dark, cool corridor underneath it, where I hoped to intercept my train."

Riding the rails, Ted Conover tasted the life of a tramp with companions like Pistol Pete, BB, and Sheba Sheila Sheils. From them he learned survival skills - how to "read" a freight train, scavenge for food and clothing, avoid the railroad "bulls." He was initiated into the customs of their unique, shadowy society - men and women bound together by a mutual bond of failure, camaraderie, and distrust.

Sixty-five freight trains, 12,000 miles, and fifteen states later, Conover chronicles his impressions of their lives in this fascinating piece of first-hand reporting that becomes a thoughtful story of self-discovery.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 2/19/2014

    " What is most interesting about this book about riding freight trains with the tramps and hobos is that this is from the early 80s, not present day. I know lots of folks who ride freights and many of them have written zines about it. If this book was more present day, I might view it a bit different. Essentially Conover was an east coast college student who decided to experience tramp life riding the rails. He went about it as a bit of an anthropological study and gave himself to it 100%. His experiences are interesting and insightful and while ultimately his young white male middle class privledge gives him an "out" anytime he needs it, he tries not to and consequently learns quite a bit not only about getting around on the rails, but also on surviving in yard jungles amongst those who (mostly) have little or no choice in their circumstances. What is quite depressing is how hard it is to get up and out of the life for most and the drinking that ultimately consumes so many. While some drink their days away, others go for day labor, or welfare, or relief offered at the missions. Conover learns a lot and survives quite well to tell an interesting story. Many things have changed in 18+ years and many have not, just as though much has changed on the rails in 60 years and much has not. I'm curious to check out his other books about Coyotes on the border and working as a guard at Sing Sing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 2/16/2014

    " Conover is a master at immersing himself into his subject matter and giving the reader a straight forward no nonsense accout of what he learned in his experiences. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi | 2/8/2014

    " Fascinating tale of a young man's social experiment to live a summer as a tramp riding the trains across America. While this book was written some 25 years ago, you felt as though it could have taken place in the present day, and now I'm very curious if there are still tramps riding the rails. The characters are vivid and the author gives you snapshots of different types of people he meets on his travels, challenging you to see beyond your assumptions of who lives this kind of life. This book also uncovers some of the interesting culture and lingo, giving the reader a better understanding of the differences between bums, hoboes, and tramps (bums don't work and don't travel; hoboes don't work either but they travel; tramps work and travel). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James Cook | 2/2/2014

    " I don't really think the narrator is very likable but anything about 'bos & riding the rails tends to be a fun or at least interesting read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karla | 2/1/2014

    " Very interesting - a disappearing lifestyle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Hyland | 1/27/2014

    " Read this for a course I did on writing & editing. It's Conover's first book. Indeed, this is a wide-eyed young man's type of thing . . . something like Into the Wild. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 1/14/2014

    " If anyone wants to run away and be a hobo...I will totally go with you. The author took a year off from his life and rode the rails and, in this book, tells about the people he met. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim Salisbury | 1/13/2014

    " Very well written tale by an anthropologist about life as a hobo. Made me think twice about this as an alternative lifestyle. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie McGarrah | 1/13/2014

    " The very premise of this upper-middle class man spending a bit of time hopping freights to get a sense of their world is problematic and there are racial/class issues, but it was a quick, entertaining read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Taki | 1/12/2014

    " Story of a guys who lives as a hobo for a couple of months "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheehan | 1/8/2014

    " I think Ted Conover's got a great knack for lived journalism, his participating in all his research makes for a consistently engaging nexus between oral history and journalism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kurt | 1/3/2014

    " I didn't really have an interest in the hobo culture before reading the book, and I didn't gain one from it, but this book is a good representation of Conover's style, with compassionate character analyses and some historical background to flesh out his own observations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Seth | 9/29/2013

    " Interesting read. Brave narrator. A little poorly written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki | 4/30/2013

    " Another book chosen after watching a show the television show, American Experiences. It was interesting to read the different reasons men, and women had for riding the rails. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Florence | 4/16/2013

    " Young and impoverished rail stow away travelers were treated brutally during the depression "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 rachel | 1/25/2013

    " towards the end of the book, conover talks about how he would stop whatever he was doing whenever he heard a train whistle months after he ended his trip. . . meanwhile, as i read this, a train whistle went off nearby. freaky. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamie Fairbanks | 10/21/2012

    " Just a fascinating book - pretty well written and insightful into something most of us know nothing about. I can't imagine anyone not finding it interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jess | 10/21/2011

    " Hobos are people too! (although some are very crazy...) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nate Hendrix | 5/1/2011

    " I will read anything by Ted Conover. This was as good as anything else he has written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nate | 4/29/2011

    " I will read anything by Ted Conover. This was as good as anything else he has written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sonya | 1/15/2011

    " Written as a senior college project, Ted Conover becames a hobo instead of a college senior. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 1/12/2011

    " So far, this is a fairly documentarian book about hoboes in the early 1980s. If you want more of the romance of hoboes, read Kerouac. If you want humorous tall tales about hoboes, read John Hodgman. If you are interested in how hoboes functioned in 1980s reality, this is the book for you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki | 6/9/2010

    " Another book chosen after watching a show the television show, American Experiences. It was interesting to read the different reasons men, and women had for riding the rails. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karla | 9/19/2009

    " Very interesting - a disappearing lifestyle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 6/16/2009

    " Read this for a course I did on writing & editing. It's Conover's first book. Indeed, this is a wide-eyed young man's type of thing . . . something like Into the Wild. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 4/20/2009

    " I don't really think the narrator is very likable but anything about 'bos & riding the rails tends to be a fun or at least interesting read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 RØB | 12/14/2008

    " While some of Conover's "revelations" seem like second nature, or like the naïve ramblings of a bourgeois college boy, his experiences are fascinating ones and well worth a read. Entertaining from start to finish, and good research, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Florence | 11/3/2008

    " Young and impoverished rail stow away travelers were treated brutally during the depression "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheehan | 9/14/2008

    " I think Ted Conover's got a great knack for lived journalism, his participating in all his research makes for a consistently engaging nexus between oral history and journalism. "

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