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Nekkid In Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down A Well Paperback – July 18, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Fred Reed is a Marine combat veteran, police reporter, amateur biochemist, former long-haul hitchhiker, and part-time sociopath living in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomc River from the Yankee Capital.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (July 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595237134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595237135
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

According to Fred, who is an occasionally reliable source (though he says his heart isn't in it): I was born in 1945 in Crumpler, West Virginia, an unincorporated coal camp near Bluefield where my maternal grandfather was the camp doctor, and steam locomotives chuffed spectacularly in to load coal at the tipple. (When someone got sick on the other side of the mountain, the miners would put Big Pat, as granddad was called, in a coal car and take him under the mountain. He had a robust conception of a house call.) My father was a mathematician, but then serving in the Pacific aboard the destroyer USS Franks. My paternal grandfather was dean and professor of mathematics at Hampden-Sydney College, a small and (then, and perhaps now) quite good liberal arts school in southwest Virginia. In general my family for many generations were among the most literate, the most productive, and the dullest people in the South. Presbyterians.
After the war I lived as a navy brat here and there--San Diego, Mississippi, the Virginia suburbs of Washington, Alabama, what have you, and briefly in Farmville, Virginia, while my father went on active duty for the Korean War as an artillery spotter. I was an absorptive and voracious reader, a terrible student, and had by age eleven an eye for elevation and windage with a BB gun that would have awed a missile engineer. I was also was a bit of a mad scientist. For example, I think I was ten when I discovered the formula for thermite in the Britannica at Athens College in Athens, Alabama, stole the ingredients from the college chemistry laboratory, and ignited a mound of perfectly adequate thermite in the prize frying pan of the mother of my friend Perry, whose father
was the college president. The resulting six-inch hole in the frying pan was hard to explain.
I went to high school in King George County, Virginia, while living aboard Dahlgren Naval Weapons Laboratory (my father was always a weapons-development sort of mathematician, although civilian by this time), where I was the kid other kids weren't supposed to play with. I spent my time canoeing, shooting, drinking unwise but memorable amounts of beer with the local country boys, attempting to be a French rake with only indifferent success, and driving in a manner that, if you are a country boy, I don't have to describe, and if you aren't, you wouldn't believe anyway. I remember trying to explain to my father why his station wagon was upside down at three in the morning after I had flipped it at seventy on a hairpin turn that would have intimidated an Alpine goat.
As usual I was a woeful student--if my friend Butch and I hadn't found the mimeograph stencil for the senior Government exam in the school's Dempster Dumpster, I wouldn't have graduated--but was a National Merit Finalist.
After two years at Hampden-Sydney, where I worked on a split major in chemistry and biology with an eye to oceanography, I was bored. After spending the summer thumbing across the continent and down into Mexico, hopping freight trains up and down the eastern seaboard, and generally confusing myself with Jack Kerouac, I enlisted in the Marines, in the belief that it would be more interesting than stirring unpleasant glops in laboratories and pulling apart innocent frogs. It was. On returning from Vietnam with a lot of stories, as well as a Purple Heart and more shrapnel in my eyes than I really wanted, I graduated from Hampden-Sydney with lousy grades and a bachelor-of-science degree with a major in history and a minor in computers. Really. My GREs were in the 99th percentile.
The years from 1970 to 1973 I spent in largely disreputable pursuits, a variety that has always come naturally to me. I wandered around Europe, Asia, and Mexico, and acquired the usual stock of implausible but true stories about odd back alleys and odder people.
When the 1973 war broke out in the Mid-East, I decided I ought to do something respectable, thought that journalism was, and told the editor of my 327
home-town paper, "Hi! I want to be a war correspondent." This was a sufficiently damn-fool thing to do that he let me go, probably to see what would happen. Writing, it turned out, was the only thing I was good for. Using my clips from Israel, I argued to the editors of Army Times that they needed my services to cover the war in Vietnam. They too let me do it. Editorial bad judgement is a valuable resource.
I spent the last year of the war between Phnom Penh and Saigon, leaving each with the evacuation. Those were heady days in which I lived in slums that would have horrified a New York alley cat, but they appealed to the Steinbeck in me, of which there is a lot. After the fall of Saigon I returned to Asia, resumed residence for six months in my old haunts in Taipei, and studied Chinese while waiting for the next war, which didn't come. Returning overland, I took up a career of magazine free-lancing, a colorful route to starvation, with stints on various staffs interspersed. For a year I worked in Boulder, Colorado, on the staff of Soldier of Fortune magazine, half zoo and half asylum, with the intention of writing a book about it. Publishing houses said, yes, Fred, this is great stuff, but you are obviously making it up. I wasn't. Playboy eventually published it, making me extremely persona non grata at Soldier of Fortune.
Having gotten married somewhere along the way, I am now the happily divorced father of the World's Finest Daughters. Until recently I worked as, among other things, a law-enforcement columnist for theWashington Times. It allowed me to take trips to big cities and to ride around in police cars with the siren going woowoowoo and kick in doors of drug dealers. Recently I changed the column from law enforcement to technology, and now live in Mexico in Jocotopec, near Guadalajara, having found burros preferable to bureaus. I now share my existence with Violeta Gonzales, who was what God had in mind when he created women but just hadn't quite perfected the idea until recently.
My hobbies are crawling South America, scuba, listening to blues, swing-dancing in dirt bars, associating with colorful maniacs, and writing seditious columns.
My principal accomplishment in life, aside from my children, is the discovery that it is possible to jitterbug to the Brandenburgs.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was thinking of suing Fred Reed. I thought I would never get over the stomach ache from laughing. His penetrating humour crucifies the Politically Correct. Yet this book can also make you cry with frustration, as Fred throws into sharp relief the many crass stupidities of western society. This book only articulates what we already mostly knew but could not always express. He reminds us of what we have already lost . He shows what we are still losing. His message is sharp yet gentle - never vicious or nasty. If you want ammunition to do your little bit amongst friends to stop the rot in our society, then you could not do better than wrap your message in the humour that Fred Reed gives us. The message is as true in Britain, Australia, or elsewhere in the old Anglo Saxon world, as in Fred's home country. A wonderful book! Buy it and get sore sides too.
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Format: Paperback
Well, I've already written one fervently pro-Fred review on this site, but I'd still feel remiss if I didn't add some more of my thoughts to the pile, both to amplify what the guy below me wrote and to further refute what that one idiot wrote about Fred being a "racist" (do we even have a definition for that word now? It seems to mean about as much as the "alternative rock" label means in music by now). Anyway, much as some people might try to label him, Fred is a truly independent thinker, someone who's not bound by the conventions of any ready-made ideology. He's experienced a lot more of the world and its people than most of us could ever dream, and he's come away a refreshing perspective that doesn't smack of liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism, or really anything ending in "-ism." To steal one of his own phrases from a recent column, Fred knows the people of other countries, and knows that they are people, a fact that often seems lost on his fellow Americans. Perhaps more to the point, Fred has enough experience with politics and the way the world works to see through the sloganeering, name-calling, and prejudice that so often substitute for debate in America (and probably everywhere else as well). In a world where people are constantly trying to give us easy answers, Fred is constantly questioning the conventional "wisdom" and trying to tease the truth out from the endless piles of rhetoric and deceit. Don't belive me? Here are just a few of the little bits of wisdom from his site (which I think are in this book, although I'm not sure how many of his columns made it in here):

On the 9/11 attacks: "Our politicians and talking heads speak of 'a cowardly act of terrorism.' It was neither cowardly nor, I think terrorism.
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An eclectic collection of essays, stories, recollections and observations that are poignant, poetic, thought-provoking, amusing, infuriating and hilarious. Written in Freds unique and very eloquent style.
At times you don't know when Fred is departing from the literal truth and entering into the "Fred Zone". Frankly I prefer the Fred Zone it's a lot more interesting.
I am regular at Freds web site and look forward every week to the latest Fred on Everything column
Fred has a way of exposing the [falsehoods]in a way that refreshingly funny and enjoyable. His outlook on life ans attitudes are what made this country great and hopefully will again. Plus Fred will have you laughing or crying or both.
You will wish you could have a collection of individual essays on various always handy to give to some loudmouth know-it-all dunce running his mouth on the subject.
But this book, read and enjoy. It is true keeper.
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Format: Paperback
Though I am typically loathe to do this sorta thing, especially since the person I'm debating will doubtless never read my review, but I can't help but respond to the moronic review written before me. The data noting the 15 point difference in IQ between blacks and whites (In America) is found in 'The Bell Curve' a massively famous book on intelligence. Furthermore, any sociology or psychology textbook is virtually guaranteed to discuss this disparity in some fashion. The statistical difference is, in fact, massively documented, as Reed states, and is common knowledge, thus defying the need for any specific references. And, for future reference, I just want everyone to know that your ignorance doesn't make other people into racists, nor does it disprove their facts. It just makes you ignorant, naturally.

As far as Reed being a racist, well, I'll give him this: He doesn't presuppose that all statistical differences between races are the result of oppression or unfortunate circumstances, which is tantamount to racism in our digustingly false, PC age, nor is he embarassed or apologetic that he's white. This is not to say that Reed demands that the differences are purely or even largely genetic. When you actually read his articles, you get the impression that he primarily believes the problems of minorities to be cultural ones, meaning that they are told NOT to work or to succeed, that you are not responsible for yourself or anyone, and to defy society and demand that everyone else support you. This is not to say that he thinks that all races are identical save from visual aspects. He doesn't. But this isn't the central issue.

Reading his articles, you'll also notice that he is highly concerned with the massive amount of immigration between.
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