Email this article to a friend

"Railwayman's Son" Rides the Rails of Depression-Era America

A new book from Texas Tech University Press takes a long look at the Depression, the railroad and how it changed one family forever.

TTU Press

Railwayman's Son Book Cover

Hugh Hawkins was seven years old when his father’s job with the Rock Island Railroad forced his family to relocate to far western Kansas. Before he turned 12 the family had lived in three "Rock Island towns": Herington and Goodland, Kan.; and finally El Reno, Okla. Such was the life of a railwayman’s son during the Great Depression.

In this warm and thoughtful biography “Railwayman's Son: A Plains Family Memoir,” published by Texas Tech University Press, Hugh Hawkins paints a portrait of middle-class traditions and values in the Heartland in the 1930s and 1940s.

Hawkins' evocative book creates an engaging and poignant memoir of a vanished America and provides a fresh perspective on the powerful forces that shaped the lives of thousands of Americans during tumultuous times.

Professor emeritus of history and American studies at Amherst College, Hawkins is the author of numerous works, including “Pioneer: A History of the Johns Hopkins University.” He lives in Plainfield, Mass.

For more information or to purchase the book, visit the Texas Tech University Press Web site.

Peak Inside

Hugh Hawkins and Father James and Rena Hawkins
A young Hugh Hawkins with his
father, James.
Hugh's parents, James and Rena Hawkins on their wedding day in 1910.