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The Last American Vagabond: A Book That Is Not Quite What I Expected

The Last American Vagabond: A Book That Is Not Quite What I Expected

Op-Ed: Why book bans and voter suppression go hand in hand

by Kevin Johnson

A short time ago, I read “The Last American Vagabond,” by Paul Johnson, a fascinating piece of writing that chronicled the author’s years of travels, often in the most remote locations, trying to understand the people he had met. The book chronicles his efforts to understand what motivated the people who made up their community, how they worked, and what their daily routines were. The result of his travels was a book whose title and the basic premise of the book were not entirely apparent.

The book was “The Last American Vagabond,” and it detailed a life spent trying to decipher the mindset of those he met, trying to understand what made them tick, what made them happy, what made them sad, what they wanted to learn, and their ideas, values, and personal attitudes. The theme of the book is the lack of a shared sense of community—and the resulting breakdown of society.

During his travels, Johnson met many people who were either in a time of their lives that he was powerless to change, or who had been “locked out” of the only possible future they had. People that seemed to exist in a perpetual state of not being able to find a job, to make enough money to make the rent, to pay the bills, to eat, to make travel plans—a life that seemed to them to be a never-ending struggle. People who often were caught in a limbo between not knowing what they wanted, where they wanted to go, and who they wanted to be.

However, despite the seemingly impossible situations they were faced with, these people would always find their way back to the basics, back to who they truly are, and that is why their lives were so difficult. These people were not simply victims trapped in an impossible situation, they had been “locked out” from the only possible future they had, a life that would

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