"There is no feeling in the world like sitting in a side-door Pullman and watching the world go by, listening to the clickety-clack of the wheels, hearing that old steam whistle blowing for crossings and towns." -George Phillips in Riding the Rails
At the height of the Great Depression, 250,000 teenage hoboes were riding the rails and roaming America. Some left home out of desperation and went looking for work and a better life, sometimes traveling hundreds of miles on the rumor of a job waiting farther down the line. Others left out of boredom; still others with a wanderlust and romantic idea of life on the road.
The restless youth of these boxcar boys and girls, many who went from "middle-class gentility to scrabble-ass poor" overnight, is recaptured in Riding the Rails. Based on the award-winning documentary, this book dispels the myths of a hobo existence and reveals the hard stories of a daring generation of American teenagers-forgotten heroes-who survived some of the hardest times in our nations' history. Whether you're a "gaycat" (novice rider) or a "dingbat" (seasoned hobo), Riding the Rails is entertaining and inspiring, recapturing a time when the country was "dying by inches."