John's Reviews > Hoboes: Bindlestiffs, Fruit Tramps, and the Harvesting of the West

Hoboes by Mark Wyman
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's review
Dec 03, 10

bookshelves: 2010, american-studies, work-labor
Read from November 27 to December 02, 2010

The first thing that needs to be cleared up about this book is that it's not really about Hoboes, Bindlestiffs and Fruit Tramps. It's about how farming transformed the West. The book could have been a decent history of trains, agriculture, diasporas of Japanese and Chinese immigrants, culturla history of the Northwest, Cultural history of California, sociology of temporary laborers, and settlements of towns along the West Coast, if the author had focused one one of the subject. After the initial disappointment that the title is a lie, I read the book because there were some interesting aspects about Japanese and Native American laborers in the early part of the 20th Century. The writing was okay, never too academic, but it could have used some strong editorial direction to focus the book. Several of the themes that are introduced in the book are never resolved but just seem to fade away.
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