By Jessica Berardino

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – “Hobohemia” is the counterculture that was developed after soldiers from the Civil War came back, homeless. The culture was proud to guard the American road and preserve their white manhood. The culture would transform the entitlements of American citizenship through a rise and fall.

Author of “Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America,” Dr. Todd DePastino, has compiled a chronology of this culture’s history that molds a new interpretation of the “American century.”

Dale Maharidge, author of “And Their Children After Them,” promoted DePastino’s book on his website:

“Anyone who wants to understand the ‘homeless’ of today should disregard any of the hundreds of books on the subject and start with this one. Citizen Hobo provides much-needed historical context on hoboes and the army of dispossessed now on America’s streets. Todd DePastino has done a stunning amount of research, and he has created a vital and highly readable book. Citizen Hobo is not simply about hoboes or the homeless—it’s a story about America.”

DePastino currently teaches and writes about history, specifically on disaster, war, mayhem, and misery. He’s enjoys reading about those who are forgotten, afflicted, or doomed.

He’s also the co-founder of the Veterans Breakfast Club, a non-profit organization that joins together veterans of all era’s with their friends and families to share stories with each other from their service.

“You didn’t have to be in a fox hole or the trenches to have a story to tell,” said DePastino. “As we lose those who served in World War II, I feel that it’s vital we catalog their stories so our history isn’t forgotten.”

De Pastino and another friend of his created an oral history of stories from over 185 veterans. Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh a non-profit dedicated to capturing, preserving and sharing the stories of veterans in Pittsburgh. The group hopes that through their efforts in preserving these stories, future generations will learn from their experiences.

Veteran Voices is in partnership with The Social Voice Project, the Veterans Breakfast Club, Startpoint Media, and Andy Marchese Photography. They also include Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum Trust, Inc., the place where all the stories and exhibits will be archived.

“I was surprised how vivid their memories from 70 years ago are,” said DePastino. “These are folks who don’t have the best of memories, but they’ll never forget their experience in the service.”

DePastino view the military as a critical learning experience for those who were involved. He typically hears comments from veterans referring to the fact that they knew they were not alone, but together as one unit. Sadly, for today’s servicemen he feels that many put too much weight on their shoulders and forget that there are others there to support each other.

“The +99% of us really have very little idea about what the commitment, the bond or the benefits really are for serving in the military,” said DePastino.

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