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John Henry Days

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J. Sutter is on The List - The King of the Junketeers - one of the select freeloading journalists and expense account abusers who are invited to cover any event ,no matter how small. J. has been sent by a travel web site to West Virginia to cover the first annual 'John Henry Days', a festival to celebrate the launch of a New US postal stamp commemorating the Famous American folk hero, John Henry. Immortalised in ballads, John Henry was a labourer on the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad who, in a test of strength and stamina, tested his mettle against a steam drill, only to die moments after the victory from exhaustion. Interweaving the stories of J. and John Henry, Colson Whitehead explores the parallels between the Industrial age which killed John Henry and the Information Age which is destroying J.'s soul. Through their two lives, Whitehead traces the evolution of the ballad of John Henry, juxtaposing history, popular culture, journalism and the oral tradition, revealing a riveting portrait of how a nation creates its present through the stories it tells of its past. Hide synopsis

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