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Road Work: Among Tyrants, Heroes, Rogues, and Beasts

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  301 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
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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Mar 26, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jul 03, 2014 GT rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 19, 2013 Tom rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 17, 2008 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
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.
Jun 30, 2011 Barbi rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 22, 2014 Amber rated it liked it
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.
Nov 02, 2008 Bax rated it liked it

Some good stuff, but for me the collection was fatally undermined by his war cheerleading, in particular his apologia for the torture of prisoners by the US.

Disappointing, in light of his even-handed presentation of events in Black Hawk Down.
Jul 25, 2007 Dave rated it liked it

A collection of articles by the author of "Black Hawk Down", he's a Philly guy who wrote for the Inquirer. Engaging writer, though on a variety of topics. Everything from the extinction of the Black Rhino, children's leukemia, sports columns, etc.
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.
Allison Shell
Nov 13, 2010 Allison Shell rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 13, 2008 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Great collection of stories by a former Philadelphia Enquirer reporter. The epic battle between Sylvester Stallone and The Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art over keeping the famous Rocky statue at the museum entrance is worth the price alone.
Sep 09, 2007 Andy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes Bowden
Some stories are better than other, but this is a great collection of his work. It gives a better understanding of what a normal (non-book) piece is like when Bowden only cranks out 10,000 words instead of 400 pages.
Apr 08, 2009 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
I didn't read all the sports pieces as those really don't interest me, but all of the other articles were great.
Jan 11, 2011 Worth rated it did not like it
This is a collection of Bowden's articles from his journalistic career. Basically tiring self-cheerleading. I didn't finish it.
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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 ...more
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