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Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry: the Untold…
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Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry: the Untold Story of an American Legend (edició 2006)

de Scott Reynolds Nelson (Autor)

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1373157,518 (3.9)9
The ballad ""John Henry"" is the most recorded folk song in American history and John Henry--the mighty railroad man who could blast through rock faster than a steam drill--is a towering figure in our culture. But for over a century, no one knew who the original John Henry was--or even if there was a real John Henry. In Steel Drivin' Man, Scott Reynolds Nelson recounts the true story of the man behind the iconic American hero, telling the poignant tale of a young Virginia convict who died working on one of the most dangerous enterprises of the time, the first rail route through the Appalachian… (més)
Membre:RobHoberman
Títol:Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry: the Untold Story of an American Legend
Autors:Scott Reynolds Nelson (Autor)
Informació:Oxford University Press (2006), Edition: 1, 224 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry: the Untold Story of an American Legend de Scott Reynolds Nelson

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Using the railroad trackliner song as the starting point, the author goes in search of the legendary John Henry. The first question is, was he a real man? After much research and visits to sites that may have clues, Nelson finds that there was a young African American named John Henry working with a hammer for the C & O Railroad at that time, as part of a prison crew that was leased out to the railroad by the warden.
The author also researched the song about John Henry and its many variations, along with Henry's image as it has been used in plays, art and folklore. With all that research, there's a lot of unexpected information found, such as Henry being just 5'1", or that he went to prison on a ten year sentence for stealing from a grocer. There is also quite a bit of information about the justice system and the "black codes" from this period. Anyone interested in the early railroad and how they were built will be especially interested in this book. ( )
  mstrust | Apr 2, 2020 |
This book starts with a story the author's academic hunt for The Real John Henry: the truth behind the man, and the circumstances that brought him to the famous steam drill battle and death. The reader gets a slice of life look at trackliners, how they used song in their work, and the initial dirgelike, cautionary tone of 'John Henry' -- a tale of a man working too hard, and the impending danger of machines.

Next, the author traces the groups and individuals along with their motivations (social, political, business, personal) that brought the song and the mythic figure to widespread cultural popularity--and how John Henry's legend evolved into what it is today. ( )
  stonecrops | May 18, 2016 |
Nelson explores the connections between mythology and history, and spinkes in a bit of historical methodology as well--and makes the whole thing fun to read. He demonstrates what a lot of persistence and a little imagination can accomplish. Reynolds was able to trace the legend of John Henry to its source (a free black man from New Jersey imprisoned in Virginia in the early days of Reconstruction)--and finds the real John Henry only stood 5 foot 1. He then follows the creation of the giant of legend.

For the teachers out there, I think this would work for an upper level college course (its main market, I believe), but would also work for a really bright high school class as well. ( )
  GregMiller | Dec 20, 2007 |
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To my grandfather, David George Brown.  A big man who died too young.
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The ballad ""John Henry"" is the most recorded folk song in American history and John Henry--the mighty railroad man who could blast through rock faster than a steam drill--is a towering figure in our culture. But for over a century, no one knew who the original John Henry was--or even if there was a real John Henry. In Steel Drivin' Man, Scott Reynolds Nelson recounts the true story of the man behind the iconic American hero, telling the poignant tale of a young Virginia convict who died working on one of the most dangerous enterprises of the time, the first rail route through the Appalachian

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