Summer Reading B2G1 Free
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Original Essays | July 15, 2015

    Frank Wilczek: IMG You Are... Who?



    Writing a book is an unnatural act of communication. Speaking to a person, or even to an audience, is an interaction. Very different styles are... Continue »
    1. $20.97 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    spacer

This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.


Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

This title in other editions

Riding Toward Everywhere

by

Riding Toward Everywhere Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Vollmann is a relentlessly curious, endlessly sensitive, and unequivocally adventurous examiner of human existence. He has investigated the causes and symptoms of humanity's obsession with violence (Rising Up and Rising Down), taken a personal look into the hearts and minds of the world's poorest inhabitants (Poor People), and now turns his attentions to America itself, to our romanticizing of "freedom" and the ways in which we restrict the very freedoms we profess to admire.

For Riding Toward Everywhere, Vollmann himself takes to the rails. His main accomplice is Steve, a captivating fellow trainhopper who expertly accompanies him through the secretive waters of this particular way of life. Vollmann describes the thrill and terror of lying in a trainyard in the dark, avoiding the flickering flashlights of the railroad bulls; the shockingly, gorgeously wild scenery of the American West as seen from a grainer platform; the complicated considerations involved in trying to hop on and off a moving train. It's a dangerous, thrilling, evocative examination of this underground lifestyle, and it is, without a doubt, one of Vollmann's most hauntingly beautiful narratives.

Questioning anything and everything, subjecting both our national romance and our skepticism about hobo life to his finely tuned, analytical eye and the reality of what he actually sees, Vollmann carries on in the tradition of Huckleberry Finn, providing a moving portrait of this strikingly modern vision of the American dream.

Review:

"In this sometimes heavy-handed though brief (especially for Vollmann) memoir of hopping trains and riding the rails, Vollmann, National Book Award winner for Europe Central, explores a personal and national obsession. 'From a certain open boxcar in a freight train heading the wrong way,' he writes, 'I have enjoyed pouring rain, then birds and frogs, fresh yellow-green wetness of fields.' Taking to the rails out West, Vollmann sometimes travels with buddies pursuing the same thrill, the same freedom people have long associated with railroads. Other times, he meets up with grizzled hobos and degenerates, reflecting on himself and his reasons for risking life and limb to see America from a speeding freight train. 'Whatever beauty our railroad travels bestow upon us comes partly from the frequent lovely surprises of reality itself,' he says, 'often from the intersection of our fantasies with our potentialities.' While he never really gets around to fully explaining his own reasons for doing so — he makes long, curlicue allusions to his restless soul and search for deeper meanings of things — Vollmann pieces together a kind of patchwork portrait of the lusts and longings of a nation torn by social inequity and riven with anger about the current state of affairs, especially but not limited to the war in Iraq and the ongoing sadness of American overseas misadventures. Through the self-indulgent mist, though, a sharper picture emerges. Vollmann captures an ongoing romantic vision of America — a nation always on the move, nervous and jittery, and never really satisfied with itself." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"William T. Vollmann is revered and venerated by a lot of men whose brains and souls I deeply respect. They love his ideas, the sheer length of his work (one book of his, 'Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means,' runs over 3,000 pages); they love his freedom and eccentricities — he's been to and written about Afghanistan, the Far East and the magnetic north... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Vollmann captures an ongoing romantic vision of America — a nation always on the move, nervous and jittery, and never really satisfied with itself." School Library Journal

Review:

"Sometimes entertaining, sometimes annoying: an essay that takes the reader on a trip around the author's psyche." Kirkus Reviews

Book News Annotation:

Hopping freights is only a frame on which novelist/essayist/journalist Vollmann (Poor People, Europe Central) hangs his witty, wicked observations of the vile state of our government (Bush especially), our society, and religion. The book includes 65 gritty b&w photos. A good read. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

William T. Vollmann is the author of seven novels, three collections of stories, and a seven-volume critique of violence, Rising Up and Rising Down. He is also the author of Poor People, a worldwide examination of poverty through the eyes of the impoverished themselves; Riding Toward Everywhere, an examination of the train-hopping hobo lifestyle; and Imperial, a panoramic look at one of the poorest areas in America. He has won the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction, a Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and a Whiting Writers' Award. His journalism and fiction have been published in The New Yorker, Esquire, Spin and Granta. Vollmann lives in Sacramento, California.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061256752
Publisher:
Ecco
Subject:
General
Author:
Vollmann, William T.
Author:
by William T. Vollmann
Subject:
Railroad travel
Subject:
Vollmann, William T
Subject:
Essays & Travelogues
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Travel
Subject:
Vollmann, William T - Travel
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20080122
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.54x6.02x1.05 in. 1.01 lbs.

Related Subjects

» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
» History and Social Science » Americana » General
» Travel » Sale Books
» Travel » Travel Writing » General

Riding Toward Everywhere
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 288 pages Ecco - English 9780061256752 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this sometimes heavy-handed though brief (especially for Vollmann) memoir of hopping trains and riding the rails, Vollmann, National Book Award winner for Europe Central, explores a personal and national obsession. 'From a certain open boxcar in a freight train heading the wrong way,' he writes, 'I have enjoyed pouring rain, then birds and frogs, fresh yellow-green wetness of fields.' Taking to the rails out West, Vollmann sometimes travels with buddies pursuing the same thrill, the same freedom people have long associated with railroads. Other times, he meets up with grizzled hobos and degenerates, reflecting on himself and his reasons for risking life and limb to see America from a speeding freight train. 'Whatever beauty our railroad travels bestow upon us comes partly from the frequent lovely surprises of reality itself,' he says, 'often from the intersection of our fantasies with our potentialities.' While he never really gets around to fully explaining his own reasons for doing so — he makes long, curlicue allusions to his restless soul and search for deeper meanings of things — Vollmann pieces together a kind of patchwork portrait of the lusts and longings of a nation torn by social inequity and riven with anger about the current state of affairs, especially but not limited to the war in Iraq and the ongoing sadness of American overseas misadventures. Through the self-indulgent mist, though, a sharper picture emerges. Vollmann captures an ongoing romantic vision of America — a nation always on the move, nervous and jittery, and never really satisfied with itself." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Vollmann captures an ongoing romantic vision of America — a nation always on the move, nervous and jittery, and never really satisfied with itself."
"Review" by , "Sometimes entertaining, sometimes annoying: an essay that takes the reader on a trip around the author's psyche."
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.