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Ernie Pyle’s “First” Book: Home Country

• CATEGORIES: Books, Features

home-country-ernie-pyle

Most of you probably know Ernie Pyle from his wartime articles and books. However, prior to WWII Ernie Pyle had already made a name for himself as a widely traveled columnist under the title “Hoosier Vagabond”. Between 1935-1942 he and his wife traveled extensively across the US, north into Canada and south into Mexico. In 1947, after his death, some of his articles from this pre-war time were bundled into a book called Home Country

In his homespun style, Ernie shares his experience climbing to the top of the newly build Golden Gate bridge, learns the challenges of being a white professional wrestler in heavily hispanic Laredo, Texas, and tells the tales of some regionally famous (at that time) folks like Rufus Woods, a local Washington State character who had a significant impact on Eastern Washington, yet was a name I didn’t know.

Near the end of the book he interviews the inventor of the Ross Steering box, David Ross. Matriculating with an engineering degree from Purdue University in 1893, Ross contracted Typhoid shortly after leaving college. A doctor advised him to be outdoors to regain health, so he returned to his family farm and began tinkering. He developed the box and other inventions that made him wealthy. Ernie Pyle’s description and stories of the Ross provide some great insights into who he was.

 

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