During the Great Depression, more than 250,000 children left their homes and hopped freight trains crisscrossing the United States. They were looking for work and adventure; some wanted to leave their homes, and some had to. They grew up in speeding boxcars, living in hobo jungles, begging on the streets, and running from the police and club-wielding railroad guards.
The restless youth of these boxcar boys and girls, many who went from ‘middle-class gentility to dirt poor’ overnight, is recaptured in Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move During the Great Depression.This unforgettable narrative 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 nation’s history. Drawn from 3,000 oral histories and illustrated with over fifty black and white photos from the National Archives and Library of Congress.