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category: History
published: Aug 2018
publisher: UBC Press

Thumbing a Ride

Hitchhikers, Hostels, and Counterculture in Canada

by Linda Mahood

tagged: post-confederation (1867-), 20th century

As a national network of roads and hostels spread across Canada, so did the practice of hitchhiking. Thumbing a Ride examines its rise and fall in the 1970s, drawing on records from the time. Many equated adventure travel with freedom and independence, but a counter-narrative emerged of girls gone missing and other dangers. Town councillors, community groups, and motorists demanded a clampdown on a transient youth movement they believed was spreading anti-establishment nomadism. Linda Mahood asks new questions about hitchhiking as a rite of passage, and about adult intervention that turned a subculture into a pressing moral and social issue.

About the Author

Linda Mahood

Contributor Notes

Linda Mahood is a professor of history at the University of Guelph. She is the author of The Magdalenes: Prostitution in the 19th Century; Policing Gender, Class and Family in Britain, 1850–1940; and Feminism and Voluntary Action: Eglantyne Jebb and Save the Children, 1876–1928; and co-editor, with Bernard Schissel, of Social Control in Canada: A Reader on the Social Construction of Deviance. She is also the recipient of two distinguished teaching awards.

Editorial Review

Thumbing a Ride explores hitchhiking’s resurgence in Canada during the 1970s, when the then-teenage Mahood took to the road, thumb stretched out, seeking rides. In her concise but wide-ranging study, the author focuses on the mobility of young Canadians, their willingness to take risks, and travel as a rite of passage. Summing Up: Recommended.

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