Riding Toward Everywhere and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$4.00
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: This book has already been well loved by someone else and that love shows. It MIGHT have highlighting, underlining, be missing a dust jacket, or SLIGHT water damage, but over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Riding Toward Everywhere Hardcover – January 22, 2008


See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$2.24 $0.01
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Frequently Bought Together

Riding Toward Everywhere + Imperial
Buy the selected items together
  • Imperial $39.18

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (January 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061256757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061256752
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,245,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Vollmann has spent a good deal of time in some rough placesâ€"he made a reputation for his reporting from Bosnia and Afghanistanâ€"and his talent as a writer is hardly disputable. A prolific fiction writer and essayist (Poor People, *** May/June 2007; Rising Up and Rising Down, **** Mar/Apr 2004; Expelled from Eden; The Rainbow Stories), he won a National Book Award in 2005 for his novel Europe Central (***1/2 July/Aug 2005). A chronicle of his adventures on the rails (the book is expanded from a 2007 piece for Harper’s), however, meets with less success. Although much of the book bears the unmistakable punch of Vollmann’s prose, critics comment on the graceless prose and the lack of continuity and aim in the narrative (“no purpose, no destination, no story,” as the New York Times puts it). Still, Vollmann aficionados will find something here, even if first-timers might be better off picking up, say, Europe Central.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

A bit disappointed.
steve delor
Too bad there isn't more about the author's friend "Steve," but Vollmann misses that opportunity.
Jose Hanson
The book's platform about soul-searching makes sense, but not with this author.
Eric D

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jose Hanson on March 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
A real dud, although it probably sounded like a good idea for an adventure book: a guy tries to re-live the past, goes hobo and rides the rails in 2006. Alas, (big surprise) post 9/11 railroad yards have surveillance systems and the bulls ride ATVs.

How many times does Vollmann actually manage to hop a freight? Not very many. When waiting for trains gets too boring, he heads to the airport to catch a flight home. He rides Amtrak too, and cell phones and credit cards are always close at hand.

Uneasy with the authenticity of this adventure, Vollmann points out Thoreau had more financial support than he let on, therefore his own experience is as valid as Thoreau's. Trouble is, Vollmann doesn't experience much of anything, and in his search for romantic old-time hobos, he shows little interest or compassion for the real bums he meets. It's all pretty empty, and his account runs as shallow as the Frontier Days cowboy re-enactments he disparages.

No matter how many times he uses the F-word, Vollmann (summa cum laude Cornell, the New Yorker, New York Times Book Review, Harpers, etc.) has trouble getting "hobos" to accept him, and it reads like he spoke to no more than half-a-dozen. Desperate to get enough material for a book, he tries to buy stories.

Coming across a ragged couple on the sidewalk (p. 89) he offers the woman $5 to tell him about riding the rails; she says she doesn't want to talk, that her stories are too sad; Vollmann keeps waving the fiver, but she still refuses and mentions being hungry. He might have treated the couple to a Big Mac or bag of White Castles, and maybe the stories would have flowed. Not Vollmann. He tells the couple he's going to dinner and he'll stop back later to see if they're hungry enough yet to sell him some stories.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By David W. Straight on January 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
We have our images of people riding the rails in bygone days: Vollmann's book is a fine but disturbing look at the reality of that life in today's world. Vollmann describes the subculture: those whose life centers on an existence on the rails, and those like himself and his friends for whom riding the rails is more of a getaway, and who can afford to fly home if they have to do so.

Getting on and off moving trains can be a dangerous business: Vollmann has many tales about broken limbs and lost legs. You'll learn about the people in this life--the frightening and reportedly often lethal FTRA, the misfits and rebels, the people like Steve and Brian, Vollmann's friends. People outside the life are referred to derisively as "citizens", and inside the group there are codes of conduct. You might be killed for $5 worth of food stamps, but your sleeping bag will never be stolen. There are people Vollmann meets and hears of who may (or may not) be serial killers: one tale is of a heavily-tattooed man who on one tattoo area has 30 dots--one for each person he has killed.

It's all rather like, in a way, homeless street people--people who live outside the normal boundaries of society. There's a dislike of rules, of laws. But at the same time, as Vollmann shows, you show respect to the railroad--for example, simple things such as not urinating or defecating in the boxcar you might be riding in, even if you're about to jump off a mile further on. It's no longer the kind of romantic life that you might see in Emperor of the North or Bound for Glory. There is at the end of the book a collection of 65 black-and-white photographs of the life and the people taken by the author. It's a fascinating look at a little-known life.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric D on November 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
When I discovered this piece hidden in a used book store, I read the jacket and knew that I had to read it. After all, they say you can't judge a book by its cover. Very true. I judged this as being an interesting read. In reality, it's not. The concept was great. A man (and one or two companions) leave their homes and families to ride freight trains for the thrill of the illegal, mystery of the unknown, and experience of a lifetime. However, besides some beautiful descriptions of scenery, this book has little redeeming qualities. Even if the book didn't touch on much more than what happens as they travel, it would still be interesting, as we might hear and learn about the various places and things Vollman witnessed on his journey. Instead, however, he fills most of the pages with abstract, forced-romanticism, attempting to make the reader feel as though they are listening to a soul-searcher, a man who is lost in life and trying to find himself. In reality, Vollman isn't lost at all. He probably has more to his name (money, education, loved ones, confidence) than all of the people he comes across on his travels combined. He knows who he is and what his life is about. The constant mind-wandering and nostalgic references to his past are sad attempts to trick the reader into seeing him as a deep, confused human being. He constantly refers to Cold Mountain, which is basically a soul's own private, physical heaven somewhere on earth. A place where they feel at home and ease. It's a good concept, but all Vollman does is ramble about where his might be, never truly discovering anything about himself, except maybe that he's a scatterbrain. The book's platform about soul-searching makes sense, but not with this author. Instead, he should have focused more on the trainhopping aspects of the book.Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?