The Man Who Walked Backward: An American Dreamer's Search for Meaning in the Great Depression (Compact Disc)

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When the Great Depression hits his hometown of Abilene, Texas, Plennie Wingo must close his restaurant and find a new way to support his family.  Times are desperate and with no jobs available people will do anything in a quest for fame and fortune.  Sitting on flag poles becomes popular and a man pushes a peanut up Pike's Peak with his nose.   Plennie decides to walk backwards around the world supporting himself with sponsors and postcard sales.  He leaves his family and begins his journey on April 15, 1931 with little more than a cane, a journal, and a pair of sunglasses with mirrors allowing him to see backwards.


The book follows Plennie across a country suffering the Great Depression and Europe on the brink of war.  In an almost "Forrest Gump" way, Plennie finds himself in amazing places at key moments in history.  Famous events and people are mentioned: the destruction of the buffalo as part of Native American genocide, lynching and the Klan, Bonnie and Clyde and Al Capone, the kidnapping of Charles Lindberg's baby, the rise of Hoovervilles and the Dust Bowl, the growth of the beer industry and Prohibition.  Plennie arrives in Europe as Hitler is beginning to rise to power in Germany.  It is a fascinating look at history through the eyes of a man just trying to make his way.

— Barb


Like most Americans at the time, Plennie Wingo was hit hard by the effects of the Great Depression. When the bank foreclosed on his small restaurant in Abilene, he found himself suddenly penniless with nowhere left to turn. After months of struggling to feed his family on wages he earned digging ditches in the Texas sun, Plennie decided it was time to do something extraordinary-something to resurrect the spirit of adventure and optimism he felt he'd lost. He decided to walk around the world-backwards.

In The Man Who Walked Backward, Pulitzer Prize finalist Ben Montgomery charts Plennie's backwards trek across the America that gave rise to Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, and the New Deal. With the Dust Bowl and Great Depression as a backdrop, Montgomery follows Plennie across the Atlantic through Germany, Bucharest, Turkey, and beyond, and details the daring physical feats, grueling hardships, comical misadventures, and hostile foreign police he encountered along the way. A remarkable and quirky slice of Americana, The Man Who Walked Backward paints a rich and vibrant portrait of a jaw-dropping period of history.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781549145957
ISBN-10: 1549145959
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Language: English