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Road Work: Among Tyrants, Heroes, Rogues, and Beasts
by Mark Bowden
Anyone who has read Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down or Killing Pablo knows that he is capable of putting us in the heat of a story in a way few writers can. Road Work gathers the best of his award-winning writing, from his breakout stories for the Philadelphia Inquirer to his influential pieces in the Atlantic on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whether traveling to Za ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Penguin Books
(first published 2004)
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I really enjoy long-form journalism and one of my favorite writers is Bowden. He does admirable research and tries, I think, to understand the nuances and complexities of the situations or events he is covering, and most of the time I think he gets it right, and also he is a pretty good narrative nonfiction writer. I didn't love every piece collected here as much as the other, but most were powerful and interesting. I enjoyed his sports stories, was saddened by the ill children and gorilla piece ...more
I've never read anything by Mark Bowden that was anything less than engrossing, entertaining, interesting, and well written. This collection of previously published material was no exception. My personal favorite was the longer piece "Cops On The Take', but I thoroughly enjoyed every story. I had not known that Bowden wrote stories on sports. There were several here including his telling of a minor league baseball game and the substitution of a potato for a ball.
Equally captivating were tales of ...more
Equally captivating were tales of ...more
I've been a fan of Bowden's nonfiction for a while. This collection assembles a fair collection of his early writing with prefaces by the author, himself. Not only is the collection quite varied and interesting in itself, but I also appreciate the combined insight into how Bowden has refined his writing process over the years. The commentary on the articles also provides a rare insight into the formative experiences of his career, which have shaped his philosophy. It is rare for a nonfiction wri ...more
An alright selection of essays/articles from the author of Black Hawk Down. A tad too many about political matters in America and sports but that is up to personal taste and not quality of writing. They all pulled me in and the author definitely has the ability to describe people so that you feel you have met them. I may just have to get around to reading Black Hawk Down which has been lingering on my to-be-read pile for ages.
This collection of essays was a mixed bag for me. I liked how each essay was given the context of its original publication, but some of the essays were a bit heavy-handed for a liberal-minded reader. Bowden has a very clear political perspective, and I almost did not get past the first few (more partisan-ish) essays. I was glad that I made it past those essays because there are definitely a few gems.
This book is a compilation of short stories done by Mark Bowden when he wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer. It covers a variety of subjects from Saddam Hussein to terminally ill children taking a trip to Disney World. Well written and even the ones I thought I wouldn’t like, cow breeding, were interesting.
I love Mark Bowden's books. But I had no idea that he started out as a journalist! So this book was a compilation of done of his early articles, all done in Bowden's unique no-nonsense style. Loved about 65% of them and tolerated the rest. His range is amazing and it astounds me that his interest seems to jump that same range with enthusiasm and detailed, visceral reporting.
Jul 14, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it
I came for the war reporting, I stayed for the rest. Many of these pieces were actually sports pieces which is not usually my thing. But Bowden has a knack for finding a compelling narrative to tie it all together, and I ended up enjoying those as well.
I love this style of journalism, and with the exception of Harper's and Vanity Fair, rarely encounter it. However, I personally had trouble getting through some of the sports pieces, for the same reason I enjoyed his others--lots and LOTS of detail. So, four stars from me rather than five.
Mark Robert Bowden (born July 17, 1951) is an American writer who is currently a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, and a 1973 graduate of Loyola College in Maryland, Bowden was a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1979-2003, and has won numerous awards. He has written for Men's Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Sports Illustrated, and Rolling Stone over the ...moreMore about Mark Bowden...