Tales of an American Hobo

Tales of an American Hobo

Preface author(s): 
Introduction author(s): 

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252 pages

"[A] delightful collection of short anecdotes about the hobo life, by the 'Grand Duke of the Hoboes.' …The overall impression that emerges is of a man of large heart and intelligence who …took the back road to happiness."—Kirkus Reviews

"A lively picture of an unjustly neglected part of American culture." —Publishers Weekly

"Reefer Charlie" Fox rode the rails from 1928 to 1939; from 1939 to 1965 he hitched rides in automobiles and traveled by foot. From Indiana to British Columbia, from Arkansas to Texas, from Utah to Mexico, he was part of the grand hobo tradition that has all but passed away from American life.

He camped in hobo jungles, slept under bridges and in sand houses at railroad yards, ate rattlesnake meat, fresh California grapes, and fish speared by the Indians of the Northwest. He quickly learned both the beauty and the dangers of his chosen way of life. One lesson learned early on was that there are distinct differences among hoboes, tramps, and bums. As the all-time king of hoboes, Jeff Davis, used to say, "Hoboes will work, tramps won't, and bums can't."

Tales of an American Hobo is a lasting legacy to conventional society, teaching about a bygone era of American history and a rare breed of humanity who chose to live by the rails and on the road.

Table of contents: 


Preface - Albert E. Stone

Introduction - Lynne M. Adrian

Tales of an American Hobo - Charles Elmer Fox